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'We want a u-turn on toddler group cutbacks'
2:40pm Wednesday 29th August 2012 in Local news
A CAMPAIGN has been started to try to reinstate a weekly toddler group which has been cut back to save cash.
Essex County Council has cut back the popular group, for working parents with young children, switching it from weekly to monthly.
The first of the new Daddy Cool Sessions, at Brentwood Library, will be held next Saturday, September 8.
Parents contacted Brentwood South ward councillor Mike Le-Surf to ask for support and a petition was quickly set up.
Mr Le-Surf said: “Brentwood Library is in the heart of my ward of Brentwood South.
“I received so many calls from local residents about the cuts to the Saturday morning group that I felt we had to act to try to save it.
“Local working families feel very strongly about it due to the networking and support oppotunities it gives them and their children.
“This Saturday morning group is vital for hard working families.
“Tory cuts to services, especially around libraries, are a completely false economy. “They break down the structures of our local community and make it harder for people to support each other locally.
“We had success when Labour campaigned against the cuts to the countryside volunteers service and we hope the council will U-turn on this one as well.”
The regular sing-a-long sessions help children to develop skills while giving parents a chance to meet. As many as 30 families attend each session at a time.
Jeremy Lucas, Essex County Council cabinet member for customer service, environment and culture, said: “Essex Libraries are reviewing the events and activities carried out by its staff to ensure the service remains in budget, allows some flexibility and allows us to keep our libraries open.
“In Brentwood, we will be continuing to offer Rhyme Times sessions twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, and Daddy Cool sessions once a month on a Saturday.”