Cortonwood and Wath Victoria children’s centres on council hitlist

TWO Dearne Valley children’s centres have been named in a council hitlist of 13 earmarked for closure.

Rotherham Borough Council announced last month that 13 of its 22 children’s centres were under threat as part of £2.2 million budget cuts.

On Monday, council chiefs revealed that Cortonwood Children’s Centre, which is based at Brampton Cortonwood Infants and Wath Victoria Children’s Centre, at Wath Victoria Primary School, were on the proposed list of 13.

Swinton Brookfield Children’s Centre will remain open under the plans.

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey said he was writing to David Cameron about the cuts as the PM was “directly to blame”.

He added: “This will be a huge blow for the families who have valued their Sure Start centre as a hub of support and friendship, as well as a place their children are well cared for.

“Just before the 2010 election, David Cameron promised to keep and improve Sure Start.

“Since then nearly 600 centres have closed and childcare costs are rising five times faster than pay.

“Meanwhile he’s given millionaires a tax cut.”

He added: “Each year, they’ve cut Sure Start grants more and more. The council has been plugging the gap but with their funding being slashed too, they have had no choice but to announce these closures.”

Rotherham Council’s early years and child care service budget was £5.053 million in 2013/14. For 2014/16 it has to be slashed by £2.2 million.

The proposals mean that the remaining nine centres would operate as a cluster to form seven registered centres.

A final decision will be made following a 45-day consultation period, which started this week, and no centres will close before April 2015.

A meeting will take place from 6pm on Thursday, March 20 at Wath Comprehensive School, Sandygate, for users of the Brookfield, Wath Victoria and Cortonwood Children’s Centres.