Petition launched to save 'crucial' early leaning centres in Midlothian
Midlothian Council recently announced significant spending cuts to bridge a £14 million budget gap for 2023/24. This has resulted in £3 million of underfunding for Midlothian’s Early Learning and Childcare 1140 hours’ policy, leaving up to three Midlothian Sure Start early learning centres at risk of closure, which would result in redundancies for up to 18 nursery staff.
A petition launched by concerned parents from Midlothian to prevent the possible closure has been backed my MSP Craig Hoy.
Last month, Mr Hoy spoke to mothers from Penicuik, Mayfield and Dalkeith who said that Midlothian Sure Start has been a crucial resource which has supported them through difficult times.
Sure Start is a multi-award winning third sector organisation which has served the communities of Midlothian for over 25 years.
The organisation provides 1:1 parenting lessons, counselling and perinatal services for parents, as well as offering high-quality early learning and childcare services and support for toddlers and Primary School pupils with additional needs.
Mr Hoy commented: “First and foremost, Midlothian Council have a duty to serve the people of Midlothian. That means providing children and young people here with the very best standards of care and educational opportunities to advance in life.
“I wholeheartedly support the petition to retain the three Midlothian Sure Start early learning centres, and I also strongly encourage the SNP administration in Midlothian to reconsider the potential withdrawal of funding from schools and nurseries in Midlothian.
Cheryl Brown from Midlothian Sure Start said: “The Midlothian Sure Start centres are a lifeline to many families who use them to access a wide range of services. Families tell us that they literally save lives. The closure of any centre will leave young children and families who depend on our services feeling abandoned. It will disrupt early intervention and prevention work leading not only to a lack of savings but poorer outcomes for those who need the services most.”