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The consultation as to how to make cuts to Haringey's superb Children's Centres has started.
During my pregnancy I used the Stonecroft centre for antenatal appointments and have visited some lovely mother and baby groups there. The centre I used a lot with Isabelle was the Ladder centre, next to South Harringay school which is in N4.
I can say without any exaggeration, (a rare thing for me!) that the Children's Centres gave me back my life. After Isabelle was born four and a half years ago, I suffered a serious illness that resulted in me being placed in a Mother and Baby Unit in Park Royal for three months (this transfer was made with the help of Lynne Featherstone MP, to whom I will be eternally grateful). I digress.
Once back at home I fetl like I'd had all the stuffing knocked out of me and my skills as a mother were neglible. I had few friends living near me with tiny babies and no one really to connect with as I felt lonely, isolated and depressed. Living in a one bedroom flat, I didn't really have the room to invite others round as we'd be jammed on the sofa listening to babies scream.
My salvation came in the guise of the children's centres. I could mix with other mums in neutral surroundings and got to share hints, tips and funny stories with a diverse mix of people from all four corners of the earth. I took Isabelle to painting sessions (no painting in our flat), dance sessions (ditto) and playgroups. I became well again, met new friends and started on a journey of motherhood that has so enriched and completely changed my life.
I've posted the consultation papers and info on how to get involved if you want a say. The very knowledgable Liz from Harringay Online sets out the consultation process here with a write up and what to do next from a meeting of the Ladder Children's Centre User Group.
This consultation has now closed (as at 22/4/11).
on 5th April Haringey published an addendum to the original documents. It contained this paragraph
We are continuing to work on the financial appraisals of the delivery models and at this point, itappears likely that funding from the Early Intervention Grant will be discontinued from some or allof the following Children’s Centres:
• Highgate – not in area of high deprivation – may be able to run service and charge fees;
• Northbank – not in an area of high deprivation and close to similar provision in Barnet;
• Stonecroft – reduction of range of services and increased focus on childcare offer;
• Woodside – reduction of range of services and increased focus on childcare offer; and
• Rokesly – new provision in local school– proposal not to proceed with a full offer ofChildren’s Centre services