Ready to battle against the Sure Start centre cuts

On Saturday 18th May at 11.30am a protest will take place outside Debenhams in Commercial Road, Portsmouth relating to Sure Start Children's Centres.''Pictured is: (left) Nikki Coles (25) with her daughters Keira Coles (19 months old) and Ellen Coles (3) and with Lisa Fletcher (37) and her daughter Eleanor Fletcher (17 months old) with some of the protest signs.''Picture: Sarah Standing (131324-5309)
On Saturday 18th May at 11.30am a protest will take place outside Debenhams in Commercial Road, Portsmouth relating to Sure Start Children's Centres.''Pictured is: (left) Nikki Coles (25) with her daughters Keira Coles (19 months old) and Ellen Coles (3) and with Lisa Fletcher (37) and her daughter Eleanor Fletcher (17 months old) with some of the protest signs.''Picture: Sarah Standing (131324-5309)
PCSOs and police officers around Priory School this afternoon

Police speak to school after fight in Southsea play park

0
Have your say

LISA Fletcher is one of many parents who rely heavily on Sure Start Centres to help get her through the day.

Often facing financial battles and struggling with post-natal depression, she has recently been forced out of her home due to the introduction of the bedroom tax.

But the Sure Start Centres were a huge support to her. And that’s why tomorrow, she will join hundreds of demonstrators armed with pots and pans who will march through the city centre and protest against austerity and cuts.

Lisa is a single mum of three, from Fyning Street in Portsmouth. She’s been campaigning to keep the centres open.

She said: ‘It’s had a negative effect on me and my children as a family.

‘First there was the bedroom tax which affected us and we had to move because of that. Then when we were settled we found there were more cuts to Sure Start. I couldn’t believe it.’

She added: ‘It’s absolutely fantastic that the community is coming together against all the cuts.

‘It’s such a difficult time for us. The cuts are so severe. We feel it’s very difficult to cope with what’s going on and we have to be heard somehow.

‘There’s a cloud over the community with the cuts that are going on. It’s a really dark atmosphere.’

The march has been called by Portsmouth Against the Cuts Together (Pact). It comes weeks after Portsmouth City Council announced it would cut 21 jobs from its Sure Start centres.

The cuts are being made because the council has to save £17m this year, after its funding from central government was reduced by a third.

Mum-of-two Nikki Coles, 25, from Fratton added: ‘Sure Start is a very important part of our community, it has made a huge difference to the families of Portsmouth.

‘The cuts will have a devastating effect as early intervention is key when it comes to children’s development and health.’

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, council leader, said: ‘We don’t want to end up having to take decisions like in Greece and Spain and Ireland where they have done enormous vicious cuts.

‘If people have a different view we have to listen but it’s difficult to ask us as a council to break the law and not try to run the council as a business to balance our books.

‘But I’m very grateful for all the parents who talked and their input in the consultation. That has changed the outcome of the proposals.’

The protest will start at 11.30am.