Mums hand their petition over Sure Start cuts to Hampshire County Council

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Dozens of mums and their children marched through Winchester with a 22,000 petition opposing plans to merge Sure Start centres across Hampshire.

Chanting ‘No if’s, no buts, no Sure Start cuts’ the campaigners walked to Hampshire County Council headquarters and handed over their petition.

Parents worry proposals to cut centres from 81 to 53 through mergers, and tendering them out in large clusters to single providers in order to make savings of £6 million, will destroy Sure Start as they know it.

Catherine Ovenden, co-founder of Save our Children’s Centres (SOCC) Hampshire campaign said: ‘I think today went really well. We’ve made lots of noise and stopped traffic again.

‘I hope what we’ve done today makes them reconsider their proposals. On Monday we will try to go over their heads by visiting Downing Street and ask the Prime Minister to ring fence Sure Start budgets.

‘Early intervention saves lives and keeps families together. We want our excellent Children’s Centres to continue to be run exactly as they are.’

The consultation ended today and a decision won’t been made until after an extraordinary meeting called by six Liberal Democrat councillors and an independent representative on Hampshire County Council.