Plea to reconsider plan for Normanton’s Butterflies Children’s Centre

Yvette Cooper MP visiting Butterflies Children's Centre, which is under threat of closure. Keith Wilson, Theresa Myers with Christopher, Vanda France, Josie Farrar and Saraphine Dyson presenting her with their petition.  (w613a444)
Yvette Cooper MP visiting Butterflies Children's Centre, which is under threat of closure. Keith Wilson, Theresa Myers with Christopher, Vanda France, Josie Farrar and Saraphine Dyson presenting her with their petition. (w613a444)
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Families are urging Wakefield Council to reconsider plans to close a children’s centre in Normanton.

Parents who use Butterflies Children’s Centre attended a meeting of the full council on Wednesday to make an appeal over the centre’s future.

Under a proposed shake-up of services by the council, district’s 23 children’s centres would be centralised into six main hubs and three “linked sites”, offering extra support in deprived areas.

Butterflies, at Newlands Primary School on Wakefield Road, is one of the centres which could close.

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for Butterflies to be saved.

Wednesday’s meeting received a deputation from New Beginnings, a parents’ group which supports the Butterflies centre.

Mum Saph Dyson described how support from staff at the centre had helped her read to her son.

She said: “Most parents know it’s a joy having children. But it can also knock your confidence and it did mine.

“I’m also dyslexic and couldn’t see myself reading a lot to my children.

“Through the centre’s help I have been able to read and built up more confidence.

“Now I can read to my son most nights and I’m very grateful for this.”

Wakefield Council, which is faced with £185m of budget cuts in the next five years, has said the children’s centre plan would help provide more support for the district’s most vulnerable families.

But reading from a statement by the New Beginnings group, Mrs Dyson said: “We truly believe that your proposals will prove to be a false economy for this council.

“Without the early start and safeguarding that we provide for children and the practical support provided for parents, many will slip through the net leading to their long term damage which in the long run will cost your Council more in picking up the pieces of a damaged child and its family.”

Wakefield Council is analysing the results of a public consultation on the centres.