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Charging at Sure Start?

(33 Posts)
mazfah Sun 14-Nov-10 17:11:03

www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/nov/14/childrens-c entres-charge-for-services

Just skim read this as putting the dinner on but felt a bit empty afterwards.

This government seem to be relentlessly targeting children and famiies.

I'm speechless.

lollipopshoes Sun 14-Nov-10 17:13:35

but before the election, all parties said that sure start services were safe.

and they surely wouldn't have lied to us, would they?

or changed their minds after they got elected?

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 14-Nov-10 17:15:07

Why not, I have always been charged for my surestart services so what is new.

shandydrinker Sun 14-Nov-10 17:17:56

These services are invaluable but its seems that everything is being cut by this government.

I dont think they should charge, and means testing would be so much admin that would cost more.

Personally, I wouldnt mind paying a donation when I use the centres like I do with church playgroups etc.

lollipopshoes Sun 14-Nov-10 17:18:38

because if they start charging some people for some services, then it will become an enclave for the middle classes where the hard to reach and those more needing the services will feel/be excluded.

It has to be free (or at the very most a nominal charge) for everyone or else it will fast become useless.

LoveBeingAMummy Sun 14-Nov-10 17:20:49

Lolli come on there sessions I know of that have been stopped cause the right target weren't turning up, even though the class was full. Just cause you've got a couple of quid more in yourpocket doesn't mean you don't need support

VivaLeBeaver Sun 14-Nov-10 17:21:11

Surestart services safe? grin

So thats why I don't know If I'll have a job in March?

onimolap Sun 14-Nov-10 17:21:14

Only proposals at this stage: and pretty woolly. Only concrete example is the possibility of introducing charges for baby yoga (ie back to how things were in 2005ish).

I think a lot more info is needed about any potential changed: though perhaps such vague articles will serve a purpose by spurring parents to become more involved (in the centres and in any future consultations).

BertieBotts Sun 14-Nov-10 17:49:22

I'd much rather see them start charging for some services than close down completely.

lollipopshoes Sun 14-Nov-10 17:54:16

lovebeingamummy - I totally agree with you - sometimes the people who need the support the most are the ones that you wouldn't necessarily recognise as needing support.

Things like domestic violence and post natal depression are completely class-less and can affect anyone which is why it is SO important to make sure that the sure start services are safe, which includes not charging for services - if even one post natally depressed mum decides not to go because she'll have to pay then we, as a society, have failed.

But I'm biased because I'll soon be working in a sure start centre (although if I didn't believe so passionately in them I wouldn't have worked so hard to get the job!)

medetre Sun 14-Nov-10 18:07:42

I'd rather them charge for services instead of just getting rid of them

bubbleOseven Sun 14-Nov-10 18:08:17

Why shouldn't people pay for the services they receive? I don't get it.

TheJollyPirate Sun 14-Nov-10 18:11:45

Beecause bubble they were set up to reach the "hard to reach" families who are often the poorest. They are open to everyone and freeish (ours carges a nominal 50p for a coffee). This way it'sopen to everyone - there is no stigma to the service and our local one does a bloody good job,

bubbleOseven Sun 14-Nov-10 18:14:48

But poor people get topped up with tax credits confused - what are tax credits for then? If not to enable people to pay for things.

numotre Sun 14-Nov-10 18:19:13

As someone with quite old children and so has never used it what does surestart actually do?

lollipopshoes Sun 14-Nov-10 18:19:29

bubble - tax credits are for things like food and clothes.

If you're on a low income, or even if you're quite well off but all your money's accounted for, there isn't necessarily anything left for paying for toddler groups or singing sessions.

Baby massage is another one - at our local children's centre they offer free baby massage, which costs a bloody fortune privately. Just about every six week programme has had a mum discovered to be post-natally depressed and supported accordingly.

Tyson86 Sun 14-Nov-10 18:20:59

How do they choose if youe middle class enough to be charged? I dont get it, and would feel like a scab if i was the only one in the room not paying because i was on tax credits.

lollipopshoes Sun 14-Nov-10 18:23:47

numotre: they offer stay & play sessions (like the toddler groups you may have taken yours to), baby massage (as I just posted about), breast feeding support groups, post-natal sessions for new mums, ante-natal sessions for pg women, groups for dads, groups for grandparents, groups for Polish speakers, toy library, baby clinic sessions with play facilities while you're waiting, family support drop in sessions, PCSO drop in sessions, HV drop in sessions, outreach support for rurally isolated communities, singing and dancing sessions.

All are free or have a nominal charge, most sessions have snacks and drinks included and all the staff are friendly and welcoming.

Itsjustafleshwound Sun 14-Nov-10 18:24:25

numotre - They are centres where young families can go to for support, drop-in clinics, breatfeeding support and play groups.

I do agree that very often they are not really used by those who really need them - there is a local one near us on an estate and the groups are full of the middle class, well-off mums from the neighbouring suburbs ...

goodmanners Sun 14-Nov-10 18:26:32

Viva i work for them too and yesterday got a letter stating my job was under threat and new structure in place end of Feb following job cuts and new structure, it even had a redundancy calculator formula in it lol! <poos pants slightly>

onimolap Sun 14-Nov-10 18:37:26

numotre they have essentially brigaded the services that existed before (I'm sure lollipopshoe's lovely list is as familiar to you as it is to me -again someone with elder DCs who preceded Sure Start), and put them into better publicized hubs.

It is easier to access them via Sure Start these days, but that's probably because you get less time with HVs who used to tell you all about them - like the 50p drop in baby massage which has been going in our area since 1990s.

Knowing that it all existed before makes me far less worried about protecting Sure Start per se, but it does need watching to see what will happen to the actual services.

Pootles2010 Sun 14-Nov-10 18:39:57

At ours they already have 'invitation only' sessions, like 'tea time together' (where both parents and the children come along), and also a support group. Surely more sessions like that would be good, where the midwives and health visitors can target those they know need help, rather than using things like money, which can be too generalised and hard to administrate?

beade Sun 14-Nov-10 18:50:16

I don't see why any of the surestart services should be free to be honest. This sort of state extravagance has caused our current mess

lollipopshoes Sun 14-Nov-10 18:52:19

invitation only sounds good - but sometimes people need to come to several sessions before they feel comfortable enough to share their worries with you.

I was working with a group for weeks and I knew a couple of them had PND issues but one week one of the other mums told me some really graphic stuff that she had been going through. Luckily I was able to get her some support with it, but if that session hadn't been free to everyone there is no way she would have confided in anyone (except perhaps a close friend).

And there's also the issue of mixing middle class, well off mums with lower income mums - people can become friends with people who they wouldn't ordinarily meet which can be beneficial to both.

jackstarbright Sun 14-Nov-10 18:58:58

This article by founder of the Surestart programme (the late Norman Glass) is of interest for those who want to know the origins of Surestart and how the programme now differs from those original objectives.

The Dismantling of Sure Start.

The plan for helping the 'hard to reach' families in deprived areas was -

" this programme would be "owned" by local parents, local communities and those who worked in the programme...... it would not be seen as just another initiative by Whitehall to do something about the feckless proles."

But then Labour decided to dramatically expand the Surestart brand to 3500 centres and:

"Something had to give if there were to be 3,500 centres....What gave was the autonomy of the "local" Sure Start programmes and their "generous" funding. ........No more management boards with local parents and volunteers; a severe cut in the funding per head so it can be spread over 3,500 children's centres.."

Sums up New Labour to mesad.

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