Residents create fundraiser to stop closure of children’s centres in Hackney

Rally outside Hackney Town Hall. Pic: SaveHillsideN16 on X/Twitter.

Angry parents have created a crowdfunder to stop Hackney Council’s proposed closures to two children’s centres and reduction in services at two others which they called: “disgraceful” and “unnecessary.”

The potential forced closure of the Fernback and Seabright children’s centres, in Stoke Newington and Haggerston respectively, are a result of the budget cuts being planned to cope with the council’s pressed finances.

Hackney Council said in a statement that if new alternative managements do not take over the running of the Fernback and Sebright children’s centres, by this autumn, the centres would likely close by August next year. The council also wants to turn the Hillside Children’s Centre in Stamford Hill into a special centre for children, aged 2-5 with special educational needs and disabilities, rather than cater for all families, and reduce the age limit at Oldhill centre in Clapton from four to three years of age.

Natalie Aguilera, the spokesperson for the Save Our Children’s Centres campaign alleged in a co-written open letter last Wednesday that Hackney council suppressed their concerns. She said: “…the suppression of protest coupled with the refusal to listen to citizens at council meetings is alarming in a democratic society.”

Mayor Caroline Woodley told Eastlondonlines in a statement: “The sustainability of our early years provision continues to be threatened by the rising childcare delivery costs, the decrease in the number of children across the borough, as well as the challenges of finding sufficient staff – all while local authorities struggle with insufficient central funding.”

“The proposed restructuring of Council-funded childcare is intended to set the foundation for a more sustainable early years offer across the borough.”

Hackney Council are currently running a consultation, closing April 24, on the proposed changes and local residents have been encouraged to share their views and concerns.

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