Future unclear for vital service

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Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

A council has been accused of treating people with contempt over its consultation on children’s centre closures.

Labour candidate Jane Basham has criticised Suffolk County Council’s consultation process, which ended yesterday, saying that it failed to reach out to parents who rely on the service.

Both the Brett River Centre in Hadleigh and the Woodlands Centre in Glemsford face closure.

The county council is proposing to merge Brett River with a centre in East Bergholt, and Woodlands with a centre in Sudbury.

Campaigners fear that an increased distance to the centres, combined with a lack of public transport in the area, will leave parents and children abandoned.

Daisy Anna Lees, who set up the “Save Suffolk Children’s Centres” campaign, said the consultation had been a farce.

The mum-of-two from Hadleigh said: “The council has failed to reach out to parents like me who no longer use the centre but for whom it provided a lifeline when my children were younger.”

Hadleigh woman Angela Wiltshire started an online petition against the closures.

“Sure Start centres are there to give all children a decent start in life, regardless of family income or background – something the council has lost sight of,” she said.

“Expecting parents to travel nine more miles is equivalent to abandoning them.”

The Woodlands centre helped Lorna Eves, a mum-of-three from Glemsford, feel less isolated when she first moved to the village.

She said: “A growing village like Glemsford needs more groups and services like this, not less.”