Please Don’t Close My Children’s Centre! I Still Need It!

Dear Worcestershire County Council (WCC),

Please PLEASE do not close my local Children’s Centre (CC)! I still need it; my children still need it and along with us hundreds of others parents and parents to be need it!

I found this new out a couple of weeks ago, but I refused to believe you would be silly enough to take such an essential service away from the people of Evesham and the surrounding villages (Wychavon). Then a couple of the county’s closures was announced by the local NCT page including my local centre – Orchard & Spring Vale. This gathered quite a response from parents who were both shocked and saddened by this news; this was of course until they were told to remove it. We had to visit the centre yesterday to drop off a gift for one of the staff (you know because they have become that much of a support to us that it felt right to give her a gift at the end of the term) and I was sad and in tears just knowing that this may be the last time me and my children would be in this building.

You treat us as if we cannot see right through your plans! You do not want to use the words ‘closing it down’ as the building itself is still going to be there, but essentially you are just handing it over to the nursery right next door? You are taking away the staff, our groups and services and creating yourself a nice little profit maker by expanding the nursery.

I have learnt in the last week have profit driven you are, from your cheaply created roads to the fact you were not going to replace our lollipop lady until some very angry parents emailed you. Safe to say I have learnt you do not care about people but instead money. (Edited 10/11/16 they never did replace the lovely lollipop lady on the main road, and since the new school term has started I’ve watched in horror as cars speed past tiny children!)

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Do you want to know how the centre has helped my family out? Well here’s our story – Several years ago I became a mother for the first time, and this was not long after moving to a new area. Minus a mother in my life and away from friends I felt so isolated, I was starting motherhood and learning how to look after a house and child. I made a friend online via a parenting website who suggested we meet up for the first time at the young parent’s group she attended. This was run by the children’s centre, and this group went on to provide me with friends as well skills that set me up for that first year of motherhood.

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They taught me how to introduce messy play to my child, and one of my fondest memories looking back is of the weekly cooking classes which not only gave me some cooking skills which I still use today it also gave me some time off from Oli with the childcare they provided. That sausage casserole recipe the WI woman taught us has now become a household favourite several years on.

Fast forward a few years, and we welcome Dylan & Charlotte to our family, my life has changed a lot since I first became a mother but the CC still plays a huge part in our lives. In that time gone by we had many appointments at this convenient central location, Oli had speech therapy there, and Dylan went on to and currently does have his speech & therapy lessons there, of course, we have no idea where they will be taking place now. After Charlotte was born me and her had our postnatal appointments there as well as baby weigh in clinics if we needed them.

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But there’s more to it than just this; it has become somewhere which knows us as a family. Over the last couple of years discovering Dylan’s autism has been a huge shock and has rocked our lives emotionally. What the Children’s Centre has provided us with has been many many opportunities to have fun as a family in a safe environment. Magic shows, craft days and workshops have bene something we have attended. The forest schools are by far our favourite activity and what have made these for us is that the staff know all about Dylan, they know that the fire pit is a potential hazard for him, that big groups of noisy people may upset him and they know what he will enjoy – if he wants to sit happily painting a log with mud, then they will provide him with the materials. They would be my extra pair of eyes and hands when I needed them.

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I attended the toddler group with Charlotte on a Wednesday morning; the location was convenient as it was right next to both of my son’s school. Fortnightly we participated in the ASD group as a family after school to be with other parents and children who we could relate to.  But I noticed over time these groups were being cancelled, lack of funding from you guys put a stop to that which I guess was just the start of you ending these services for us parents and carers.

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Look at this photo I snapped; it hasn’t even been updated with what is going on in July because we have nothing going on for us in July. That time where many parents will not have nurseries/school to lean on for support, what about those more vulnerable than me? What about those who need somewhere to turn? Many times I have donated prams that I have reviewed here on the blog and have then passed on to parents in greater need, along with baby clothes and equipment. When Charlotte was a baby, I came in and talked about breastfeeding and even breastfed in front of the parents to be at one of the free pre-natal classes the CC used to offer. I came away with such great satisfaction with how I had helped to educate them on such an important subject, and I guess this is what the staff feel on a daily basis when they help parents in need, just a shame you couldn’t get in on those feelings WCC.

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I don’t quite think you realise how many services will be impacted by this closure. The midwife and health visitor team will have to find a new location for baby check ups and weigh in services, the health teams such as speech and language will have to find somewhere to host their appointments and something which directly affects my family again is the loss of staff to the Stay & Play group ran at the Vale of Evesham school, the county’s special needs school.

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Let me tell you some more about this Stay & Play group WCC. It is a weekly group held at the school for parents and children with or without a diagnosis of learning difficulties. It was our first point of call after the Health Visitor had referred us to the pediatrician, she handed us a leaflet with details of this group. Our son was so young, and this was long before any diagnosis, but our child was different. This group became another place where we were supported; it linked in with the support we were receiving from the children’s centre. At times the group became busy, it was the only place for us parents to with children that were different for some specialist help and advice. Having the staff from the CC there helped, extra pairs of hands are always good, especially when it comes to special needs children.

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I knew I had somewhere on my doorstep if life got difficult, as a parent, there are many, many overwhelming days. As a parent to more than one child and one of those children having a disability, I have been close to the edge. I have been overwhelmed and at my wit’s end, but I knew if I got to the point where I needed a chat with someone while they passed me a box of tissues and a cup of tea they would be there for me. I think having this knowledge stopped me from getting to that point.

Just in case you have not seen just how much the centre has helped me I thought I would share these put publicly on the Facebook page after news of the closure..

Once there was a young girl who had dreams … She lived in one of the countries in central Europe. As she had numerous family sometimes she did not have nothing to eat and she was hungry. One of the first dreams she was to have is to have enough money buy the food. She learned a lot and finaly she was graduated with honors. Unfortunately, Mrs. MA working in her country and having three jobs could not afford to buy enough food. Usually she bought one roll and melted cheese. She could not afford for more. Somehow she met a boyfriend who had similar dreams as she. So they tcolect some money to go abroad and went to Great Britain. They wanted to fulfill their dreams. With hard work they had enough money to not worry about food.
Another dream was to have a family. Every mother has thematernity instinct however, raising a child is not such a simple thing. After the birth without family, friends the girl was alone with her child . The boy went to work and she was alone … Lost with no idea what is going on, how to take care for a small child. She called to the Health Visitor non stop. But even that was not enough. Once, Health Visitor gave her a brochureabout a certain group, which was organized by Children Centre. And one day she decided to go there. Despite that she was an accountant she was scared to go there. She was a foreigner. It is not so plesent to deal with racists. She went to the Children Centre in Evesham.

She was shocked. The people were nice, friendlly and helpful. They told her all about what she did not know. She met people like her and in the same situation. It turned out that helped her to understand the child’s behavior. Invited for: Baby massage session, cooking day, get moving session, painting session, forest school, etc …
Since that day, her life looked better. She began to understand her baby. She returned to work. However the problems with the child started again when baby went to the nursery. She thought that her daughter is dificul child …
Once again she visited the Children center and she told Amy about the problems. She received help straight away. Amy advised her to visit play groups regurally and she’ll try to help. After some time when she was playing with cards which received wrom Moyry her daughter said what she been filling. It turned out she is not difficult child. She said that she is afraid of the children. She was scared that they can hurt her… and she reacted defensively. This mother is me. I am eternally grateful to all those who is working in the Children Centre. Thank you for your kindness, knowledge and advice. I would like to have the possibility use your help again in the future. I believe that there are more mothers like me. Maby there all have diffrent stories but Children Cntre in Evesham is the best and I do not understand why someone can destroy years of experience.

Today when I heard that the Council wants to close the Evesham Children Centre I was speechless.
What a tragedy !!! Probably worse than Brexit … The End of acquaintance !!!The End of socialization with other inhabitants !!!The End of learning about common cultures !!! The End of support for mothers !!! The End of support for children who are our future !!!

Tell me HOW CAN THIS BE !!! How can you leave the young mothers themselves. how can they let the mother go crazy at home. How they can close WONDERFUL PLACE WHICH IS THE CHILDREN CENTRE !!! Not to mention about people who lose their jobs. We Mothers, Fathers of our great children, we can not let them locked up quietly Our wonderfull CHILDREN CENTRE. There is no place in Evesham where in one place you can get help from skilled workers. Amy knows sign language. Moyra has knowledge of ten people and sensitivity of hundreds.

We Mothers, Fathers of our great children, we can not let them locked up quietly Our wonderfull CHILDREN CENTRE. There is no place in Evesham where in one place you can get help from skilled workers. Amy knows sign language. Moyra has knowledge of ten people and sensitivity of hundreds.

 

I’ve heard that Evesham and Broadway’s children centres are closing down I really hope this isn’t true 🙁 they were a life saver with there parenting classes, baby group and weekly weighings for Harley !!! Literally Tuesday morning baby group was my favourite day of the week in those hard newborn stages and helped me make some amazing mummy friends !!!!
If this is true, there’s going to be a lot of lonely mums in the future 🙁 very sad.

Thank you Amy , Amandavand Moyra for helping me so much that first year as a mother you helped me more than you realise, and I hope the news isn’t true xx

 

Laura was my family support worker she helped me through my tough times with both my 2 children and my 2nd pregnancy with when I had worries she helped me deal with them in the right way and even when I was no longer receiving support from a family support worker I had a very very low down day where I could not stop crying I felt alone and I had no one to turn to my emotions where really and truly all over I felt like I couldn’t talk to my family and friends so my first thought was to call the children’s centre and straight away sue came to my house and sat with me for a while she talked with me about normal things treated with me woth the upmost respect and instead of judging and just saying like I’d been told so many times pull your self together she helped me she told me everything was going to be ok and that tomorrow would be a new day I could start again she gave me the support I needed in that moment I felt alone she helped me calm down and didn’t leave me until I felt better and gave me information to contact any groups I could go to it’s always been a huge comfort to know that even when I feel family and friends don’t understand or just aren’t there like you’d hope they would the children’s centre is I could turn to all of wonderful ladies at the children’s centre not only have they helped me through a difficult day but attending the parent groups the baby groups weighings fun days and forest school even taught me how to cook I am going to be very upset to see the children’s centre go and I would just like to say a massive thank you to all the children’s centre staff you have made such a good impact on my life you’ve made me a better parent and helped me in ways I could never of asked anyone to I wish you all the best of luck in the future.

Please, PLEASE don’t close such a lifeline to Wychavon parents, find a way to keep it open and give to future parents what the CC has given to me the last several years.

Yours sincerely,

Me, The Man & The Kids

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