Star date: 13th February 2018


"It shows the passion people have for this. Salford has a long and proud history of protest..." Nursery mum

A petition started yesterday to Save Salford Council's Five Outstanding Nurseries has already drawn two thousand signatures, as the outcry against the proposed closures gathers pace.

"It's very short sighted to close these places that are doing such an outstanding job" says Elizabeth Longwill, petition creator and a mum who sends her daughter to the threatened Barton Moss Nursery "It seems like complete madness."

Full details here...

Last Friday, Salford City Council announced that it was to begin a consultation on the closure of all five of its outstanding OFSTED rated nurseries - Little Hulton Day Nursery, Barton Moss Day Nursery, Higher Broughton Day Nursery, Belvedere Day Nursery and Winton Day Nursery (for details see previous Salford Star article click here).

Within a day, Salford City UNISON, the trade union that represents over one hundred workers who could lose their jobs, had called a public meeting for 11am this Saturday, 17th February at Hemsley House on the Crescent (see here for details). And yesterday, a petition* was created to Save Salford Council's Five Outstanding Nurseries, which has already drawn two thousand signatures and is growing by the minute.

"I'm delighted with the response" says petition creator, Elizabeth Longwill, whose daughter attends the threatened Barton Moss Day Nursery "It shows the passion people have for this. Salford has a long and proud history of protest; they can't just keep cutting and cutting and cutting, and think it's not going to have any effect.

"The Government has actually said that Salford needs more outstanding affordable child care, not less, so for me it seems like complete madness and I think it's a kneejerk reaction" she adds "The future cost of closing these nurseries will be so much greater."

Elizabeth's petition cites a State of the Nation report by the Social Mobility Commission last year which stated 'It is clear what drives positive development outcomes for disadvantaged children in the early years...Strong promotion and take-up of the free childcare offer, high-quality preschool settings, effective training and advice for childcare workers, evidence-based support for parents on home learning, and integrated family services'...

"Salford is going through a massive regeneration but there's no point in putting money into roads and shiny buildings if we are not going to support the children of Salford who will be the workforce and entrepreneurs of the future" Elizabeth explains "It will take a long time for this investment to pay off but there are so many studies that show the money you put in, even to under-3s, is an investment for the future. You put in 1, you get 13 back...

"It doesn't make sense" she adds "Surely there's something that can be done, whether it's a public/private partnership or money from other areas...I know money is tight but it's a question of priorities."

Indeed, the Salford Council budget for this financial year shows 278,550 net payments to The Lowry; 180,000 to the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra; 60,000 for 'premises' at Middlewood Locks; 144,859 net cost for a Salford Quays project office; 180,740 for the Salford City Mayor and his office; 127,586 for 'Greengate'; 407,604 for The Landing at Media City, and 730,673 in interest payments for 'unsupported borrowing'.

The Salford Star has also documented huge spending on websites and tv streaming of council meetings, over 7million planning fees avoided by developers, and seriously massive spending on the RHS Garden in Worsley (19million) and new office blocks (200million).

Meanwhile, Elizabeth, whose daughter is one of 326 children affected, also feels for the 106 staff who could lose their jobs as a result of the proposed nursery closures... "They're amazing and are doing an outstanding job" she says "What other area of business do you close down your best performing areas?"

This morning Salford City UNISON issued a statement expressing 'disappointment' with the Council's proposal which, it added, came 'out of the blue'...

"We understand that due to Government cuts to school funding this has caused a deficit of 1.75million" said the union's Ameen Hadi "We call on the Mayor, councillors and our local MPs to fight with the community and trade unions to retain our services."

The UNISON statement added that some "children with special educational needs and their families will lose the support of highly qualified and experienced staff" that "the most deprived areas will not have local nursery to support children and their families to be given the best start in their lives" and that "the Council would be making over one hundred staff redundant, mainly low paid young women workers who also have young families".

UNISON insisted that the decision "is in contravention of the Council's own policies in terms of Early Years, the Mayor's Anti-Poverty Strategy and to avoid compulsory redundancies".

The consultation on the potential closures starts on 26th February and runs until after the local elections in May. The Salford Council budget is set at its meeting on the 28th February.

* To sign the Save Salford Council's Five Outstanding Nurseries petition  click here

Save Salford Council Nurseries Public Meeting
Saturday 17th February 11am-1pm
Hemsley House, The Crescent M5 4PE
(next to the old Crescent Police Station)

Main photo by Steven Speed shows the protest against the closure of Harvey Nursery in Bolton. Such was the outcry from parents, staff, the community and trade union that Bolton Council did a U-turn before the end of the consultation

Rayofsunshine wrote
at 15:54:57 on 15 February 2018
Paul Whitelegg - you are a self seking parasite. It would help if you could spell "Little Hulton",

Rayofsunshine wrote
at 09:47:11 on 15 February 2018
Paul Whitelegg - you are a self seking parasite. It would help if you could spell "Little Hulton",

Leanne Edwards wrote
at 08:21:58 on 15 February 2018
My son was moved from here and I Belvedere due to domestic violence and this has been here 20+ years Im sure they have special needs children here and I removed my son due to hes father parking outside there who attacked me in my own home please keep this open for more children this is disgusting the council need to spend more money on houses with disrepair but this is sad

Paul Whitelegg wrote
at 08:21:13 on 15 February 2018
Paul Gerrard I will put a FOI for union reps who get paid by this Labour run council who do not work for them. I think you should do the same , it will be eye opening to you . The trouble you might have is the Labour Mayor might not be to happy to send it as they have a history of treating the people of Salford like mushrooms . I won't dispute Unison will play a big part in keeping these nurseries open and I do applaud this , but it's up to every person in Salford to fight for the services we pay for . Michael I will stand in the Little Hilton ward But we do need a coordinator so votes don't get split . Will you be willing to do this ?

Rayofsunshine wrote
at 15:36:57 on 14 February 2018
Hopefully commonsense will prevail and the threat to nursery jobs will be lifted - people you ned to lobby your councillors now! I'm at a loss to see how standing independent candidates in May is going to protect nursery jobs ; under pain of surcharging , a council composed f independents would implement Tory cuts!

Bob the regular wrote
at 15:36:52 on 14 February 2018
They should flog the stadium but they cannot. It will be the hospital car park. I can just hear them now. "We've just managed to find the money to save the nurseries, for the children, by selling the car park, and we think it's the right thing to do". A car park that will soon be worthless to them, but not to some other unscrupulous operator who will bleed hospital visitors dry for ever.Nobody will heed my warnings.when old mother mays lot make their final balls up, which they will, and jezza becomes PM, he will abolish nhs car park charges. Salford will then be the only place in the country with car park charges at hospitals."it's not our fault," the numbties will say. I will agree with them, it won't be. it will be our fault for letting them flog it off.

Paul Gerrard wrote
at 12:12:21 on 14 February 2018
Paul Whitelegg, I'm afraid, has it the wrong way round - It's UNISON nationally who give money to the Labour Party, not the other way round. Though whether UNISON members will allow this situation to continue when Labour councils persist in sacking their members is another question. Why feed the hand that bites you? As for his other claim, that 'hundred of thousands are paid to union reps who don't even work for the council' he is laughably wide of the mark. UNISON in the city continues to support their members whose jobs have been outsourced to private employers but faces a battle to do so against a council who argue that these people no longer work for them! UNISON deserve great credit for their speedy response over the nurseries. If you want to save the nurseries, come to the meeting on Saturday.

Irlam and Cadishead wrote
at 09:35:59 on 14 February 2018
Thats the tip of the iceberg, perhaps the right time to accept the offer from Sale sharks to buy the Aj bell stadium to save those sure start centres

Felsey wrote
at 09:35:56 on 14 February 2018
Excellent Paul. Good luck. Only needs 19 other independents to teach this out of touch Council why they have to go. Need to find a coordinator to avoid splitting the changer votes within a same ward. Which is yours please?

Felsey wrote
at 09:35:52 on 14 February 2018
Yes Mel is right. Was not "Every Child Matters" a Labour Policy? Is it simply that Salford Labour are out of touch with the National Labour when it comes to brass tacks. I see need for a body of Local Service Independents with the strong mandate to serve Salford people's needs. We must now give ourselves to saving Salford.

Gloria M Shepherd wrote
at 07:13:22 on 14 February 2018
Disgraceful decision. What has happened to the City of Salford we were all proud to be part of. Downward spiral. Where will it all end. My heart goes out to everyone affected.

Mel Baker wrote
at 07:13:17 on 14 February 2018
If "Every child matters" why is this happening? How quick and easy will it be for these children and families to find alternative settings? It takes a lot for parents, carers and children themselves to put their trust into others, so when it is taken away, who deals with the consequences?

Keri wrote
at 07:12:59 on 14 February 2018
We had a fight a few years ago for our lower broughton sure start, where not only was the staff fantasic I also did my eyfs there too. It's more than a nursery to local people it's a find out what's happening in the community, bond get to meet people, try new thing it's endless. It's my understanding that not only will the council run nurserys go it will be library's local parks fresh air soon, will things change I don't think so.... We need real people to run the country not peers handed down for yrs and some twirking of the preostoric rules and laws that rule England !!

Paul whitelegg wrote
at 07:12:08 on 14 February 2018
Mary and MR Felse I am all for irradicating this Labour council who are distroying our great City . I for one will stand as an independent and donate every penny the Labour councillor who would of got in (40,000) back to the ward . Who's strong enough to stand and who's going to get out and vote these parasites out of power before they bleed us dry . I wonder if Unison will back an independent as they are funded by the Labour council . Hundred of thousands are paid to union reps who don't even work for the council . If you want to know the true figure ask the council under the FOI act .

Joyce Crompton wrote
at 19:36:41 on 13 February 2018
My early years in nursery in Salford gave me a love of learning and social skills at an impressionable age. Mum managed to work and bring much needed income in. Give the kids a chance to thrive. Too many services are being cut but this is both a developmental necessity for children in their formative years and a relevant and worthy community enhancement.

Bob the regular wrote
at 19:36:15 on 13 February 2018
while Felsey is assembling his little protest party, here is a bit more ammunition. I heard a whisper from someone in the know that the numbties are planning to flog off the car park on Stott Lane that serves the hospital. I am told that this car park makes a million quid a year.It will make nothing when Jezza gets into power as he has promised to get rid of car park charges at hospitals. It would look bad if Salford council continued to charge alone, which legaly they could. I understand that if they sell it now,(to raise funds to pay for essential services , that have been slashed by tory cuts. the usual crap) they will get a lot of money from some greedy car park operator who can then charge whatever they like to the hospital visiting public. They can then do a pontious pilot and wash their hands of the matter and again blame the tories like they always do. If jezza gets in ,the car park will be worth nothing. The NHS would be under no obligation to buy it. It would have to stay as a free car park.Will salford people vote for nurseries and free car parks, or will they vote Labour for the working man? I think we all know the answer.

Felsey wrote
at 16:37:45 on 13 February 2018
Signed. Thank you Elizabeth for motivating people. If Unison help 20 of those under threat to volunteer for "Council" I am happy to coach them free, one in each ward, to kick off 20 Councillors in May if the Councillors fail to act on this very clear message about valuing Nursery workers. Then they can sack all Councillors!

Bob the regular wrote
at 16:37:41 on 13 February 2018
Like the little lad in the picture, I loved my nursery as well. To add to what Mary says, nursery is for the kids education. That's where it all starts. Old Felsey has already said he has some creative accountancy ideas to keep these places going and is prepared to talk to Dennet about this. Question is, will Dennet listen? I spoke to Felsey once, and also to Dennet once. I know which ones the sharper mind off the two. Felsey is too smart to come up with an idea that doesn't work, an idea that is in the public realm, that is. He knows his enemies would love to see him fall flat on his face. Anything is worth a try.

Mary ferrer wrote
at 14:28:09 on 13 February 2018
2000 was a wake up call.the council made cuts,closed buildings,sold off the family silver. But Salford council didn't learn a lesson.They carried on wasting our money. Bad investments,The stadium being one. The Gardens in worsley will be the next.Millions to an orchestra and millions to the lowry. What do we,the residents of Salford get back.This latest proposed closure hits the most needy within the city. Parents need child care so they can go to work. If it goes ahead 100 plus lose their jobs and how many parents will have to lose their jobs so they can mind children.Salford council start taking planning fees and 106 monies.if they start getting the 106 monies it could be invested in the nurseries. What do they do with any 106 monies they HAVE collected.WE have a party that know they have a job for life,so they can be layed back with how they spend and don't collect our money. I wish this campaign luck.People power to the end

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