Letter campaign and legal action next moves in Oxfordshire’s children’s centres fight

Campaigners stand outside Oxfordshire County Council's base at County Hall in Oxford on Tuesday. Picture by Pier Corona. NNL-150916-113603001
Campaigners stand outside Oxfordshire County Council's base at County Hall in Oxford on Tuesday. Picture by Pier Corona. NNL-150916-113603001
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Protesters against plans to close the county’s 44 children’s centres have launched a letter writing campaign.

Earlier this month, members of Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet voted in favour of proposals to replace the children’s centres with eight intervention hubs, despite the council freeing up £2 million through amendments to the county’s budget.

Eleven of the centres provide child care which the council will continue to support until April 2017.

Now Save Oxfordshire’s Children’s Centres (SOCCC) is urging members and the public to continue the fight by writing to their local councillor and call for the £2 million to be spent on keeping the centres open.

In an email SOCCC said: “That’s why we need to use our many thousands of voices to insist they use this £2 million to keep our centres open. We need to pressure the politicians who voted for the £2 million for children’s centres to make sure it goes towards keeping centres open.”

The group has written a draft letter and is encouraging its members to send thousands to their local representatives. The group is also continuing to hold campaign meetings.

Jill Huish, from SOCCC, is threatening legal action against OCC. She said: “I have been working with a solicitor for the past couple of months identifying what we believe to be legal problems with the county council’s handling of budget decisions and the public consultation on children’s centres in the county.

“Last week I instructed her to send a second letter to the council’s cabinet, relevant officers and legal department highlighting her concerns and asking for their prompt response.”