The Tory election machine has gone into overdrive in a bid to oust the single opposition voice that Godalming people have taken to their hearts and minds.
But as you will see from the picture below the Tories have more than Cllr Paul Follows to worry about. He has been joined by other local hopefuls wearing the Liberal Democrat yellow rosette, seeking seats in the town and borough councils.
One of the local issues they have highlighted is the proposed loss of the Godalming Surestart Children’s Centre axed recently by Surrey County Council.
As Nelson Mandela said:
“History will judge us by the difference we make to the everyday lives of children.”
The group above recently met with Dawn Bellman and her ‘Surestart’ team and was very impressed by their commitment and support to the community.
Sure Start Children’s Centres give help and advice on child and family health, parenting, money, training and employment.
They are a “one-stop shop” offering their own services as well as signposting to other professional or services, eg. Family Information Service, Food Banks, Job Centre Plus and The Citizens Advice Bureau.
Each Centre is required to offer core services to all families from pregnancy right through those important early years until the child is at school, directly reflecting the needs of the local community.
In January, Surrey County Council announced plans to close 31 children’s centres across the county, but at the 11th hour postponed closing recycling centres until after the elections! A cynical attempt to dupe residents into believing they were safe.
The 100 % Tory controlled Cabinet voted to close the centres along with reductions to some bus travel concessions citing the need to save money due to government cuts.
However, it managed to find over £50m to fund 28 new shops in the Brightwells Yard development in Farnham. A scheme shunned by private investors.
In a public consultation, 86% of respondents disagreed that children’s centres were an appropriate way to make savings.
It is still unclear to staff, families and the public what will happen. The group pictured above are demanding answers.