ANGRY parents are fighting proposals to shift nursery services in Paddock out of council hands.
A private firm is set to take over a Surestart nursery due to Government cuts.
The Save Our Surestart group has now launched a petition against plans to axe council provision for children aged up to two-years-old at the centre in Heaton Road.
The nursery is one of 3,500 centres across the UK which faces gradual withdrawal from council-funded childcare.
Local authority services are being handed over to private sector businesses who are encouraged to take over the centres.
Mrs Emily Lenihan, whose one-year-old daughter Lottie goes to the Paddock nursery, said: “We all believe that the current provision through Surestart offers a great start to our childrens’ education and care.
“The staff do a brilliant job and we are very worried that we are going to lose them, or that the same level of care for our kids is going to be cut back.
“These are very well used services which are highly thought of by working parents across the whole of Kirklees and provide a vital provision for very young children in need of nursery and early years daycare”.
The Paddock nursery currently caters for 20 up to two-year-olds. The group has also invited parents to join the campaign from other Surestart nurseries in Kirklees. Mrs Lenihan added: “We will be putting petitions in the doctors surgeries and at other places and have set up a Facebook page. We will do everything we can to keep the nurseries open.”
The changes to early years provisions were announced earlier this year with every council in England likely to have to close at least one Surestart Children’s Centre because of funding cuts.
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “The changes being planned do not amount to the closure of these nurseries and there will be minimal impact on the children who currently attend them.
“The council is fully aware that it’s vital for young children to have an enjoyable, secure and positive experience at nursery and we are confident this will continue to be the case.
“The needs of children are paramount throughout this process and it’s important to stress that they will attend the same setting at the same location.
“The schools which are taking over the management of the provision already have nursery classes and therefore significant expertise – they will be able to offer the same high level of care currently enjoyed.
“In the current economic climate, when our funding from government has been drastically cut, it is not possible for us to continue delivering these services directly. Overall, the changes to daycare will save several hundred thousand pounds”.