MP writes to Michael Gove over closure of children’s centres in Rotherham

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South Yorkshire MP Sarah Champion has written to the Secretary of State for Education against plans to close children’s centres in Rotherham.

Ms Champion contacted Michael Gove to raise concerns over the impact the closures could have on children and families if Rotherham Council’s closure plans go ahead.

Council chiefs want to close 13 of the town’s 22 children’s centre buildings in a bid to save cash.

A public consultation period is now under way to gauge opinion on the plan.

In Ms Champion’s letter she expressed concerns that the reductions to the Sure Start service may harm that will last a generation.

She wrote: “If Rotherham is to move forward it is crucial that we ensure that our children are given the best possible start.

“Rotherham has suffered greatly during the recent economic downturn and from cuts to local funding.

“The constituency that I serve has the 33rd highest unemployment in the UK and is in the top 100 constituencies for child poverty. The borough as a whole is ranked the 53rd most deprived in Britain.

“I would urge the Department for Education to consider any funding options that may be available to protect this essential service and to continue to support the children of Rotherham.”

Rotherham Council last week reported an ‘encouraging’ response to the consultation process with over 540 online responses as well as around 400 on paper.

“This is testament to the impact that these services have on our community,” said Ms Champion.

“I really want to urge everyone that hasn’t already done so to engage with the consultation and fight for these invaluable resources,” she added.