BABY groups could be saved from council budget cuts as more children’s centre proposals are retracted.
Brighton and Hove City Council officers have been in talks to protect weekly groups which meet at Moulsecoomb, Whitehawk, Coldean, Woodingdean and Rottingdean libraries, and in the Meadowview Community Centre.
The groups, run by the Early Years Project, were at risk of closure if funding reductions to children’s centres and related services was introduced when the council set the 2015/16 budget.
The council told The Argus there were plans to stop financial support for groups in September – but interim funding would be provided until then so other options could be explored.
A spokesman said: “This would allow time for the Early Childhood Project to consider alternative sources of income or whether parents could run their own groups.”
The news comes a week after the council backpedalled on plans to slash four children’s centres from its por tfolio following the launch of The Argus’ Save Our Centres campaign.
Councillor Mary Mears, Conservative member for Rottingdean, said: “Pressure has been put on by The Argus which has helped to focus people’s mind on looking at other ways of funding. This is positive news and looking at these services in the longer term is better. I’m really encouraged by that. These small groups are par ticularly impor tant. They capture the imagination of children so early and are a great suppor t for families.”
Two centres, some jobs, and a host of other related services are still at risk of being cut back to make savings if the council’s Green administration are unable to vote in a 5.9% council tax increase at a meeting tomorrow.
The Rockinghorse Children’s Charity has stepped forward to back The Argus campaign.
Chief executive Ryan Heal said: “We will consider funding applications from any children’s centre looking to improve the lives of sick children in Sussex, whether they are under threat or not.”
A protest against children’s’ cuts will be held outside Hove Town Hall in Nor ton Road ahead of the budget meeting at 4.30pm tomorrow.