PARENTS staged a ‘picnic protest’ outside Sheffield Town Hall after a march to protest against cuts to the city’s Sure Start service.
Sheffield has a network of 30 centres, which provide childcare, health care and a range of support services for families with children aged under five.
Town Hall cutbacks are to see the centres’ budgets cut by 15 per cent, losing £2 million of their annual funding.
The cuts could force centres to charge more or slash their opening hours - though none is expected to shut altogether.
Mums and dads on the protest march met at Devonshire Green before heading down Division Street to the Town Hall.
James Sanders said: “I’m a father of three children in Sharrow, and have used the Sure Start centre there since my children were born. How can they be sure a 15 per cent cut isn’t going to affect frontline services? These are small organisations.”
Mum Linda Edwards, from Darnall, said: “It means places will be cut and there will be fewer staff. It will be in breach of equalities legislation due to the effect on children from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Coun Colin Ross said: “It’s a priority that Sure Start services continue. Of £17m cuts to children’s services, £4.6m are from efficiency savings and £6.9m from staffing changes.”