LOCAL councillors in Westbury are backing a mother’s campaign to stop the closure of the town’s White Horse Children’s Centre.

A decision on the centre, along with five others at Trowbridge Longfield, Cricklade, Mere, Salisbury City and Pewsey, will be made at a Wiltshire Council Cabinet meeting on Tuesday April 30.

Nadine Crook, a mother of two from Warminster, is leading a campaign to save the White Horse Children’s Centre in Eden Vale Road, Westbury.

Wiltshire councillor for Westbury West Russell Hawker recently attended a scrutiny meeting on the proposals. Cllr Hawker said: “The reality is that money is being cut. The council is continuing with plans to close these centres to focus resources on the most in need by providing an outreach service that relies on referrals rather than the open access system we currently have.

“We (the councillors) questioned the commissioners and Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills, extensively using the evidence put before us, but it seems the Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet firmly intends to follow through with their proposals.”

Cllr Ian Cunningham, Mayor of Westbury, said: “Wiltshire Council is proposing to throw away our town’s children’s centre which was built to help all families who need it.

“We feel they haven’t properly considered the research we put forward showing how effective children’s centres are in areas of high need.

“The area around the centre is one of the most deprived in Wiltshire. They don’t seem to have fully thought out the impact of some of their own strategies.

“Wiltshire Council says it will protect the most vulnerable and that it knows it must spend a little now to save a lot later. “

We are not asking for a multi-million pound campus building as other towns have had.

“All we are asking for is £22,000 per year to keep this centre open. It is a tiny amount of money to improve the life chances of some of Wiltshire’s most vulnerable families and children.”

Wiltshire Council are set to close six Children’s Centres, formerly known as SureStart centres, only three years after a re-organisation that saw 13 of the original 30 close.

Backed by Westbury Town Council, Mrs Crook submitted a report to Wiltshire Council after she found serious errors in the council’s closure proposals.

She said: “The council’s own documents show the centre is located in an area where many vulnerable families will easily be able to access it.

“Unfortunately, rather than using the centre, Wiltshire Council has been pushing groups out of the centre into other community venues. Now, of course, it says the centre is little used so is proposing to close it.

“When the council closed Warminster’s children’s centre they made promises about what they would provide in other community buildings but they did not keep these promises.

“All the groups apart from one stopped after the centre closed. Now families struggle to access the help they need unless they are able to get referred by health visitors and other professionals. We don’t want to see the same happen for Westbury.

“There is a real risk here that people will slip through the net and not get help early on. They will then only get support when they are really struggling. This will be far more costly in the long run.”