Barnstaple families take to the streets

Parents and children march through the town with a “Stand Up for Sure Start” event to highlight the need for local children’s centres.

CHILDREN led the way as local families gathered on Saturday for an awareness march through the centre of Barnstaple.

Families Voice, the parent forum for Barnstaple’s children’s centres, had organised the event to make people aware of the services the centres offer, as another round of tough councillor budgeting decisions looms.

No decisions have been made as to where the budget axe might fall, but Devon County Council will have to find �30 million savings in its 2012/13 budget, to be approved on February 16.

Bearing flags and placards, local families made their way along Barnstable High Street to the Square, where a balloon race was launched to represent the number of children that have been helped by local centres during the past year.

Dawn Williams, chairman of Families Voice, said they had been quite happy with the turn out - but one group had been conspicuous by their absence:

“I think we were a bit disappointed that none of the councillors came along,” she said.

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“About 30 were invited but only four replied to say they could not make it. But we did get quite a lot of attention and positive comments from people along the way.”

Last year none of the Sure Start centres in Devon were closed, although the county council did reduce its early years budget by �3 million.

Families can have their say on where they think resources should be used in their communities by visiting

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