The renowned Pen Green Centre for Children and Families in Corby is facing cuts of more than £1m over the next three years under proposals put forward by the Northamptonshire Schools Forum.
The proposed cuts, which at £350,000 a year, amount to more than 50 per cent of the Corby setting's core budget, mean that 51 groups for children and families will be cut, along with all after-school provision, year-round services for the youngest children in the nursery, and family support services.
More than 1,000 people attended a protest against the cuts in Corby last Friday.
The proposals, which Pen Green says would lead to two-thirds of its staff losing their jobs, were announced by the Schools Forum on 18 January.
Heather Donoyou, head of the Pen Green Centre, said, 'It is important to know that the budget being cut is not the children's centre budget that comes direct from Government - it is the social services part of our budget which we have had since the centre first opened. When we became a school, the local authority promised us that this budget would be sustained, and now they are threatening to take away 56 per cent of our funding, which will have huge implications on what we can offer to local people.'
The Pen Green Centre for Children and Families, which was one of the first Early Excellence centres, has been at the forefront of influential research into early years practice since it opened in 1983.
Dr Margy Whalley, director of the Pen Green Centre, said, 'Children's centres have to mobilise and fight these cuts. We have to make these councillors accountable. Children's centres have to support each other - wherever there is a fight, we are happy to come and lend out support.'
The children's centre is holding a symposium, entitled Children's Centres in Crisis, on 3 March. The event will be free to attend but places will be limited to the first 250 to confirm their attendance. Visit www.pengreen.org.