New children’s centre not up to scratch

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A campaigner says the newly-opened children’s centre in Hadleigh is not meeting the needs of parents and carers in the town.

Hadleigh Leisure Centre is the new venue for children’s services previously provided by Brett River children’s centre in Market Place, Hadleigh.

Brett River, which closed at the end of March, was one of nine centres axed by Suffolk County Council to save money.

Jane Basham campaigned to save this and the Woodlands children’s centre, in Lion Road, Glemsford.

Since they closed, mums and carers have contacted her to express their dissatisfaction with the new services, she said.

“I have received a number of messages from parents and carers who are trying to use the services, some of which are now being provided at the leisure centre, and it’s clear from what they are saying that it’s not meeting their needs,” she said.

“I had a couple of mums message me about a class being held in the scout hut in Layham Road because, when it rains, the footpath to the scout hut is not negotiable by buggies.

“Apart from that, they also feel vulnerable walking along the path, which is quite secluded.

“There have also been problems with the sign not getting put up outside the leisure centre for the children’s services.

“Some mums also had to wait for staff to arrive for a baby weigh-in session,” she added.

Ms Basham said a grandmother contacted her about having to kneel down to play with children on a hard, wooden floor – with no tables and chairs provided.

“In the old centre, they had rooms with carpets and toys for the children. She felt that nans like her should not be expected to kneel down with the children on hard floors,” added Ms Basham.

“Mums and carers feel that the old centre was vibrant and everything they needed was under one roof. The services are diminished and will be further diminished; their needs are not being met.”

Ms Basham said the county council intends to sell-off the Brett River building.