Sheffield has lost more than half of its' Sure Start centres since 2010

Parents march against closures in Sheffield back in 2011
Parents march against closures in Sheffield back in 2011
0
Have your say

Sheffield has lost more than half of its' Sure Start children centres since 2010, new figures show.

The centres provide help and advice on child and family health, parenting, money, training and employment. Some sites also provide early learning and full day care for pre-school children.

Sure Start on Sharrow Lane in 2011. Picture: Sheffield Green Party

Sure Start on Sharrow Lane in 2011. Picture: Sheffield Green Party

In 2010, Sheffield had 36 but today, only 16 remain.

Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh said the city was 'paying the price' for the Government’s 'broken promises' on early years education.

But the Government say the figures are 'misleading'.

Ms Haigh said she would 'send a clear message' to the Government that it 'can't treat Sheffield children as a soft target for cuts'.

Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh

Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh

“These figures show the dire consequences of this government’s cuts. The Tories promised to protect Sure Start and be ‘the most family friendly government ever’, but now we know that children and families in Sheffield are paying the price for those promises being broken," she said.

“Sure Start transformed the lives of a generation of children in Sheffield and elsewhere. All the evidence showed it was extremely effective in the long run, yet we now know that they have reversed that progress in the years since they took power.

“In my own constituency I know the fantastic work that is done at Valley Park, Woodhouse and Chancet Wood children’s centres, which are at risk of restructuring or closure, despite parents relying on them.

"I will be sending a clear message to the government that they can’t treat local children as a soft target for their cuts, and we will fight to protect Sheffield’s Sure Start for the families who need it so much.

A DfE spokesman said: “These figures are misleading as they fail to account for children’s centres which are still offering vital services, but have been merged with other centres in the area to increase efficiency.

“If a council decides to close a children’s centre site, they must demonstrate that local children and families would not be adversely affected and local areas continue to have sufficient children’s centres to meet their needs.

“We are determined to ensure children get the best start in life and to help working families with the cost of childcare. That is why we are investing a record £6bn in childcare per year by 2020, which includes extra support for disadvantaged families.”

The Sure Start system was established in the late 1990s, with a mission to provide help to infants from disadvantaged backgrounds before they started school.

More from The Star

Sheffield robber jailed for one year for every £30 he stole

Police patrols stepped up following robberies in Sheffield park

Over 150 Sheffield families have housing benefit cut to 50p a week

Plenty of big names heading to The Moor in 2017

Historic 200 year old Sheffield pub wins top national award after makeover

Leader of Sheffield school in special measures aims for outstanding rating in turnaround

Sheffield Wednesday: Rotherham 0 Owls 2, Fletcher at the double as Wednesday vindicate Carvalhal's bold team selection

Get all the latest Owls stats

{http://www.thestar.co.uk/sheffield-united-fixtures-results|Get all the latest Blades stats|click here