Mums march in a bid to save popular nurseries

Protesters march to Blackpool town hall to demonstrate against proposals to close Sure Start nurseries
Protesters march to Blackpool town hall to demonstrate against proposals to close Sure Start nurseries
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Mums went on the march again in a last ditch attempt to prevent two Blackpool nurseries from closing.

Opponents of the plans to axe childcare at Grange Park and Talbot and Brunswick Sure Start centres took their protest to the Promenade as they marched from Central Pier to the Town Hall.

Holidaymakers looked on as the demonstrators held banners aloft calling for a change of heart by Blackpool Council.

It was the fifth demonstration held as part of the campaign to try and reverse the decision. Consultation ends on Friday.

Nurseries at both centres are earmarked to close on August 31 with the loss of 26 jobs, in a move which will save £250,000.

But parents are upset about moving their children to new facilities and have warned they will struggle to travel to alternative nurseries.

Mum-of-two Carrie Holden, who uses the nursery at the Talbot and Brunswick Sure Start Centre on Gorton Street, said: “I have been using the centre for courses in English and maths, but without childcare I can’t do it.

“I don’t drive so will have difficulty reaching other nurseries, and the staff at Sure Start are just brilliant.

“My little boy has behavioural difficulties and they have really helped him.”

Christine Boon, from South Shore, was supporting the protest because her daughter-in-law is among those set to lose her job when the nurseries close.

She said: “The council financed her degree course so she could help those less fortunate, only for the nursery to be closed down.

“There is such a lot of expertise among the staff who pick up on problems some families may have, and I just don’t think you get that as much in the private sector.”

David Dickinson, assistant branch secretary for Unison at Blackpool Council, said: “We want everyone to be kept in a job and for parents to have easy access to the nurseries they have been used to in previous years.”

But the council says there are 2,400 nursery places available in Blackpool provided by 64 private nurseries and 65 childminders, but demand for only 2,200 places which means there is over provision.

Coun John Jones, cabinet member for children’s safeguarding, said it had been a “very difficult decision”. One option being considered is the possibility of handing the nurseries over to the private sector to run as there have been expressions of interest made.