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Opposition debate on ringfencing Sure Start

(104 Posts)
NicName Wed 27-Apr-11 15:08:43

I'm watching Opposition proposal debate that Sure Start should be ringfenced again from the Con Dem cuts:
It's truly shocking that councils are having to close such services.
Sure Start allows mums to work, affords children a good start in life & delivers great value for money in reducing benefits. All parties have conceded that. Clegg promised to protect Surestart from any cuts.
Think Cameron should really be apologising to women for the swingeing cuts to Sure Start & Foundation Years spending that are going to affect millions of mums and kids & their opportunities for years to come, rather than patronising any that point out uncomfortable truths to him.

NicName Wed 27-Apr-11 15:10:53

live debate in House of Commons:
mums take campaign to no10:

GypsyMoth Wed 27-Apr-11 15:12:59

how does surestart allow mums to work?

Chil1234 Wed 27-Apr-11 15:17:50

Mums organised playschools long before the advent of Sure Start. Surely if they want to keep things going, resourceful, capable women are more than capable of setting up their own groups even without central funding? The trouble with ring-fencing any one public service is that all the others - all equally valued by their users -have to be cut even more.

CMOTdibbler Wed 27-Apr-11 15:25:06

In our area, I think SureStart is a total waste of money. It just provides pretty groups that don't reach the people that are really in need of the extra support.

NicName Wed 27-Apr-11 15:26:29

One of the main tenants of the Sure Start scheme was to help parents back to work, as well as giving affordable childcare in some of the most deprived areas. As well of course as offering children the best possible start in life. The scheme set up in 1998 was based on the Head Start schemes in USA & Australia with similar aims, and studies have supported the great value for young children and parents that Sure Start centres have offered. It's a false economy to get rid off them.
Agree that it's hard to ringfence certain services when the poorest councils have had massive cuts to their budgets. But Sure Start offers a legacy of opportunity for children and parents for years to come.

Chil1234 Wed 27-Apr-11 15:39:20

It may have been a main tenet... but where is the evidence that it actually worked? Social mobility is lower now than it was 10 years ago. Children are still turning up in Reception classses with very poor basic skills. And the suspicion is that SureStart didn't help enough of those it was specifically supposed to cater for and therefore wasn't as 'great value' as it might have been. New Labour were fond of expensive headline-grabbing schemes like EMA and Child Trust Funds that, when analysed, never quite met their objectives.

Honeydragon Wed 27-Apr-11 15:41:43

We have had a meeting today, to form parent groups and are already planning on fundraising. Ours is a very valuable asset and it is down to us to help keep it.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 27-Apr-11 15:48:00

I work for SureStart and there is a definate move back towards making sure the groups that need extra support are targeted. I'm not allowed to go and see people unless they're teenagers, known to social services, have mental health problems or smoke/take drugs.

The days of providing antenatal classes or breastfeeding support to all are gone (round here anyway). It was definetly the middle class yummy mummy types who used to come to these groups along with things like baby massage.

telsa Wed 27-Apr-11 15:50:09

Not middle-class yummy mummies round my way, but needy mums and dads who wanted their children to meet other local chidren, wanted human contact, advice etc. Shame on the govt.

GypsyMoth Wed 27-Apr-11 16:44:57

toddler groups are good enough for meeting other children.....why does anyone need a special,expensive group??

church hall should be good enough surely?

if the public sector is being cut drastically,and parents are losing jobs,then breasfeeding support groups and baby massage should be first to go!!

MilaMae Wed 27-Apr-11 16:53:56

I had 3 under 18 months and really struggled.On the face of it I guess I'm middle class(whatever that is),educated(a teacher) and shouldn't have needed Surestart in reality though I did with bells on.

The Surestart lady noted I was stressded,teetering on the edge of PND and was seriously struggling. They were sooooo lovely and I'm convinced stopped myself from costing the NHS a fair bit of cash. I met other mums,supported other mums(far more needy than me) and got me enjoying motherhood and realising it was ok to find things hard.I joined the parents forum and we organised courses on budgeting,healthy eating,play,breast feeding etc,etc. This support and info must save the gov a lot of money.They do fantastic things showing parents how to play with their kids,organising parenting courses etc etc things we need so much more of.

Health visitors don't want to know you these days,mums have literally nobody to turn to at times which is when Surestart really helps out.

I just don't get not protecting this fantastic service and I just don't get the call for excluding middle class mums.We all need support,babies/kids don't come with a manuel and many of us live a long way away from a support network.Often neighbours are out at work.I loved the way Surestart got all mums from across the board together and made it possible to learn from all sections of society.By all means charge a small fee for the better off but exclude and cut is soooo wrong.

GypsyMoth Wed 27-Apr-11 17:22:52

showing parents how to play with their kids.......the government spent money on that??? seriously?

wordfactory Wed 27-Apr-11 17:26:40

It surely cannot be beyond the wit of man to ensure that those centres making an active difference can remain open and free at the point of contact.

And perhaps make the services of those cnetres catering to the well heeled chargeable.

I saw a demo for a SS centre last week and it was a sea of Boden linen wide legged trousers and organic rice cakes. Nowt wrong with that, but I can't see baby signing there being a priority...and no reason why it should be subsidised.

monkeyplayszeebongos Wed 27-Apr-11 17:29:01

loads of local playgroups shut because of the children's centres and unless they start to cater to ALL children (up to 12) then don't see why they should have special ringfencing frm the cuts

ThingOne Wed 27-Apr-11 17:29:54

It's not the government cutting SureStart, it's councils trying to make a political point. The Labour government ringfenced everything, and didn't leave democratic local government to make any decisions. It presumed that Whitehall knew better than local people. Well, clearly they knew they couldn't trust Labour councils to make sensible decisions. Just as in the 1980s Labour councils are putting political point scoring above service provision. Really great.

I had no access to any SureStart facilities of any sort. I had moved to a new place while pregnant and had to create my own support network. Yes it was hard but I cannot see how it is the role of the state to do this.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 27-Apr-11 17:30:30

MilaMae - I agree that its a fab place to meet other mums, especially if you have PND - but then so are NCT mother and baby groups, village play groups, etc. As a teacher do you really need a government run course to teach you about healthy eating and budgeting?

Crysalis Wed 27-Apr-11 17:43:37

i'm a working class lone parent in a very isolated rural area. sure start is extremely important to me. i can meet other parents and babies/children, get support and advice, there are visits to our meetings from HVs and CAB advisors, the equipment provided for sessions is good quality, as is the environment and the staff are well-trained and always helpful.

there aren't any other playgroups aside from sure start ones at the main centre, or outreach to our village hall, and if there were, i don't think i could afford to go regularly to a group or the classes provided.

it would be indefensible to cut the provision in our area.

MilaMae Wed 27-Apr-11 17:46:10

No Viva I didn't but soooo many of the other mums less fortunate did and these 2 things were the things they all wanted to learn about most.If people are motivated surely it saves money to grab it by the horns and help them. These people I suspect wouldn't attend a course advertised as too scary but courses attended by mums they meet with every week,run by people they're familiar with are far more likely to be successful.

NCT and village play groups you have to be kidding. These are exactly the places you avoid like the plague if struggling.Who wants to fail in front of the uber mums and the local gossip mongerers.At Surestart you know many other mums may be struggling like you,the staff are fanbloodytastic and will help you out. You learn masses(even I did),really superb activities. They're brilliant with the kids and give really good role models in parenting.Local playgroups are ran by over stretched mums who haul out the same tired activities.All fine and dandy but it doesn't teach you much or support you.

I agree it needs to go up to 12 though. They're fab in getting kids busy in the hols. The over 5s are the ones that would benefit a lot from this.

maypole1 Wed 27-Apr-11 17:46:56

the type of people who really need a service like sure sart would not go off their own back.

its full of middle class asain , white and black mums the bev down the estate with 6 kids some of whom may or may not be in care or at risk will never go to such a group its like all these types of services unl;ess people are compled to go the only ones who turn up are those who dont really need it

health vistors ans sw should be compelling mothers in need to go and barring those bugaboo mums

MilaMae Wed 27-Apr-11 17:50:54

Maypole thats so wrong. Surely classes shouldn't be divided,we can learn from each other.Yes a small fee per family for those who can afford it but mothers from all classes struggle and need help. Where are middle class mums supposed to go?

The really well heeled are too snobby to go to Surestart anyway.I know several mums too sniffy to drive to our local council estate where our CC is. Those that go do because they need it.

GypsyMoth Wed 27-Apr-11 17:51:24

why up to age 12? what about beyond 12 then?

the 'bugaboo' mums may even be struggling......just quietly

MilaMae Wed 27-Apr-11 17:51:40

Believe me there were no Bugaboo mums at ours.

MilaMae Wed 27-Apr-11 17:52:56

We have a youth centre,not sure when that starts.Not sure many teens would be wanting to hang around with teeny kids.

monkeyplayszeebongos Wed 27-Apr-11 17:57:09

well 12 year old usually are able to look after themselves arent' they?

annoys me as i'm highly qualified in looking after older children yet can't even get an interview at (one of our many) children's centres

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