Despite Haringey council’s drastic cuts, Highgate Children’s Centre continues to provide an outstanding service to local parents and children. Liberal Democrats Lynne Featherstone MP and Highgate Cllr Rachel Allison dropped in at Wednesday’s parent and toddler session to see what changes have been made.
Haringey’s initial decision to slash funding and close the centre was modified at a special committee hearing forced by local Liberal Democrats. However, funding is now in place for just three days, and supplemented by small charges of £2-£3 per session for parents.
The upside is that the Centre is now open for community use two days a week. So far the space has been used by various local organisations such as residents’ associations. Highgate Primary head teacher William Dean is actively exploring other possibilities, such as hosting the older people’s luncheon club which is no longer held at Jackson’s Lane since funding was cut earlier this year.
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
“I’m so proud of the family centre, of Highgate Primary head teacher William Dean and centre manager Kate Imerson for continuing this invaluable service despite the tough financial situation.
“Thanks to my Liberal Democrat colleagues on the Council, the staff at Highgate Primary and local residents, the decision to cut their funding completely was reversed at the council’s watchdog committee and the small sum of money promised by the council this year has meant they can keep up their admirable work.”
Highgate Councillor Rachel Allison adds:
“Being a new parent can be very isolating, and places like Highgate Primary Family Centre are absolutely invaluable.
“The Highgate Primary Family Centre has set the benchmark for other Children’s Centres. To be able to continue to offer services despite the cuts and expand into community use is fantastic news for everyone in Highgate. I look forward to seeing their amazing work go from strength to strength – long may this continue!”
Faced by the cuts, which your government invariably says are absolutely necessary because of the terrible financial situation you inherited, it is inevitable that, at a local level, everyone will be fighting their own corner – and rightly so. And it is understandable that you will want to trumpet anything you see as a LibDem gain. But what about on a more national scale? I’m surprised Lynne, no comments from you about the changes to the NHS being pushed through parliament by your government colleagues – have you had nothing to say? How have you voted on this issue ? Do you see it as paving the way to the marketisation / privatisation of the NHS ? Will we hear your comments – or just another “obligatory” ministerial silence ?