Yasmeen Iqbal uses several of the centres for adult education courses, to get support and advice and for one-on-one care for her youngest daughter. And the 30-year-old, who is mum to Aliyah, 12, and Liyanah, three, who has Cerebral Palsy, said they have been a lifeline.
She said: “They’ve made a huge difference to our lives. Before I went, I did not know what help was available to us. We can get out the house and they’ve given me so much advice and so much help to my children. I’ve been able to meet and talk to other parents with disabled children. I think if the council proposals go ahead people would be a lot more isolated and would not know what support they could get. Having to travel would make it harder to access services. I think that having a children’s centre on your doorstep is really important.”
Kirklees Council plans to axe some of the district’s children’s and youth centres as it tries to make savings. Under the proposals, family and children’s services would be centralised at four hubs, in Dewsbury and Mirfield, Batley and Spen, Huddersfield, and Kirklees Rural. There would be a designated children’s centre in each location, and young people’s services would continue to be provided at 13 other council sites. The remaining centres would close.
Coun Erin Hill, cabinet member for family support said: “The reality is the council spends a lot of money on maintaining buildings. We want to prioritise spending on people instead, focussing on the areas of highest need.”
Miss Iqbal is urging people to make the most of the facilities and to take part in a consultation on the plans. Have your say at www.kirklees.gov.uk until November 22.