by Gaby Spinks
childcare organisations are currently been thrown into chaos
due to withdrawal of Sure Start funding.
for Burngreave and Fir Vale was started up two years ago to
provide support to parents and carers of under 5s in the community.
including Ellesmere Children’s Centre, Black Women’s
Resource Centre, Burngreave Yemeni Women’s Group, Burngreave
Young Children’s Centre, Book Start Plus and Citizens
Advice Bureau have all had their Service Agreements withdrawn
from 14th January. The notice given to the groups has been
extremely short, and the managers are trying to work out what,
if anything can be done to fill the shortfall.
at the Yemeni women’s group said that already, some
local women who use their crèche facilities can no
longer attend classes at the centre due to financial pressures,
because Sure Start is no longer funding the wages of crèche
Committee from the Ellesmere Children’s Centre doesn’t
know whether the Baby Unit will be able to stay open. Ironically
it was Sure Start’s money that originally funded the
groups, amongst others, are worried that Sure Start aren’t
listening to the community.
managers of the groups are very concerned about the future
of Sure Start and its involvement of the community. “We
thought that Sure Start meant working in partnership with
existing local organisations,” one worker said, “not
programme manager Amanda Boughton Brown said that all relevant
groups, the partnership board and the community were consulted
about the restructuring at a meeting held in September this
year. Groups that the Messenger has spoken to disagree that
this is the case. They thought that the meeting they attended
was to discuss proposals to change the project structure not
to implement them.
Messenger and the community would like to know is
what happens now to those organisations that
have childcare projects to run, and the parents and carers
who use those centres.
is having a stakeholders meeting on December 13th to discuss
where Sure Start are at present in the reshaping process.
Deal Partnership Board have agreed to fund three groups from
the end of their Sure Start contracts in January until April.
Women’s Resource Centre, Ellesmere Children’s
Centre and Yemeni Women’s Group approached New Deal
when they discovered their contract with Sure Start would
not be renewed.
£60,000 of New Deal money will be spent to help maintain
childcare provision in the area. New Deal for Communities
hopes to continue supporting these activites with the Childcare
Strategy project which will give business support and assistance
for groups to gain self-sustaining childcare.