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Lib Dems lead Council to oppose threats to Children’s Centres

December 6, 2018 4:41 PM

Lhead Childrens centre

Lib Dem councillors outside the threatened Children's Centre

At the December meeting of Mole Valley District Council, a Liberal Democrat motion opposing Surrey's plan to close the Leatherhead Children's Centre and reduce the funding for the Dorking Centre was passed unanimously. As a result the Council has committed to take various steps to oppose the plans, including replying in the strongest terms to the consultation, and working with the County Council to consider options to reverse their proposals.

The motion was proposed by Emma Norman and seconded by Margaret Cooksey. It was triggered by the current wave of "consultations" launched by Tory-controlled Surrey County Council as it struggles to make £85 million of further savings. Surrey Conservatives' proposals for Children's Centres involve closing the Leatherhead centre which serves one of the most deprived areas in Surrey, replacing it with "outreach" services from the Dorking centre. The Dorking centre would have its funding cut by 45%.

In her speech, Emma described the work that the Children's Centres carry out and pointed out how the Outreach services, proposed to replace the Leatherhead centre, can never match the benefits of a physical centre in the town. Closing her speech she said:

"I find it hard to believe that we are having this debate in Surrey. This is one of the wealthiest areas of the country. However, we have pockets of deprivation and families and children in dire need of support, and it is these families who will bear the brunt of these cuts."

Local Liberal Democrats have supported a petition opposing the closure of the Leatherhead Centre, which has attracted close to 500 signatures.

Sign the cross-party petition opposing the closure of the Leatherhead Children's Centre

Reply to Surrey's consultation closes 4th Jan 2019

Read Emma Norman's speech

Read Margaret Cooksey's speech