Community unites to help Lisson Grove children’s centre

COUNCILLORS, residents and union representatives are working together to fight funding cuts imposed on an outstanding early learning centre in Lisson Grove.

A petition has been organised by Church Street councillors to protest against the �100,000 cut from the Portman Centre in-year budget and the threat of a further �90,000 loss next year.

Councillor Barbara Grahame said: “So many local people have children there or were there themselves or their grandmother went there. It’s absolutely unique. The key thing is not only does the centre have children there but they do so much work with the parents as well and that’s the key.

“All the children there will go onto local primary schools and if they have had a good nursery experience they will hit the ground running. Those who haven’t just won’t have that support and that will impact on their lives forever.”

Joanna White, the centre’s head-teacher, says the facility, which caters for more than 80 under-fives from the borough’s poorest families, will no longer be able to offer the same services and will lose its excellent reputation as a result of the cuts.

“I understand why some cuts are being made but I will be battling for my service,” she said.

Gina O’Connor, from Westminster Unison, said: “We have got grave concerns about the cuts. There are some fantastic facilities there and I am impressed by the whole ethos of the building. I want people to sign the petition and understand the impact this will have on the surrounding area.”

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The petition will be presented at a council meeting on November 3.