This week saw the deadline for responding to the County Council’s proposals to close nine children’s centres in Suffolk.
The two centres in Ipswich under threat are Meredith and Quayside.
In both cases the County is saying that these centres will “merge” with another one. In the case of Meredith it will be the Wellington Centre in Chevallier Street. For Quayside, it will be Chatterbox in Copleston Road.
Anyone who knows Wellington and Chatterbox will be aware of how small these two centres are. If all the families from Meredith and Quayside relocate there, they simply won’t have enough room.
But it’s highly unlikely that families will move. Chatterbox is 1.5 miles away from Quayside. Parents with buggies just aren’t going to make the journey.
To highlight the nonsense of what the County is proposing we held a “long toddle” with mums and small children last Friday to walk from Quayside to Chatterbox. I’m glad to say that everyone made it – with only the minimum amount of tears from the young ones! – but the walk took 45 minutes.
None of the mums who took part could see themselves doing this on a regular basis. It’s clear that many families will miss out on the benefits of children’s centres if Meredith and Quayside close.
It’s not too late for the County to back down. If you haven’t responded to the consultation yet, please do, on the council’s website.