Star date: 24th March 2018 


'Save Our Nurseries, Mr Mayor...'

Hundreds of Salford people marched today from Victoria Park to the Civic Centre in Swinton to demonstrate against any possible closure of Salford City Council's five outstanding nurseries.

Despite a last minute U-turn by the Salford Mayor, finding £1.5million to keep the nurseries open for a further year, parents, workers and campaigners were determined that the long term future of the nurseries should be secured.

Full details here...

Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration
Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration
Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration
Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration
Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration
Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration
Save Salford Nurseries Demonstration
click image to enlarge

Around five hundred Salford people, many wearing bright yellow 'Fight For The Five' t-shirts, took to the streets of Swinton today, marching from Victoria Park to Salford Civic Centre, to demonstrate support for five Salford Council run nurseries with the long term future still not secured.

This Thursday, on the eve of the demonstration and a consultation on the nurseries' closure, Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, did a massive U-turn, finding £1.5million to keep them open until September 2019, and removing the closure option from the consultation which is still to start on Monday (see here)

At the end of the rally outside the Civic Centre, Salford UNISON rep, Ameen Hadi, did an impromptu consultation, asking protesters: 'Do you want your nurseries privatised?' to which the answer came 'No!'... 'Do you want to make sure they stay with qualified nursery workers?'... 'Yes!'...'Do you want to make sure they stay in public control?'... 'Yes!'.... "I think we've done that consultation already", he said to loud cheers.

Earlier, parents and staff had spoken at the rally, each with their own personal stories of how great the five OFSTED-rated outstanding nurseries have been. One speaker from Higher Broughton read out a letter from a six year old girl called Julia whose brother attends the nursery...

"Please do not shut my little brother's nursery...My mummy's really upset because she knows that this nursery is the best and she doesn't want to send my little brother anywhere else..."

Another parent, Sara, from Winton, had her experience recounted about her son who has a rare genetic disorder and numerous sensory issues, which leave him unable to speak and to be fed through a peg in his tummy...

"Nurseries give children like my son the chance to flourish and succeed, they are like a life ring to our child" she explained "His progress is immense and he's one hundred per cent accepted. Losing the nursery would be absolutely devastating and outrageous.

"Most disadvantaged children would have had opportunities snatched away" she added "These children need our help to thrive and succeed. Money taken from vulnerable children in our society should be the very last resort."

Clare, from Winton, also stressed the importance of council run nurseries...

"Privatisation is a red line for us" she emphasised "We will continue to campaign to make sure these nurseries are kept open and under Council control. Closure is off the table but it is only for now.

"We have achieved all this in one month" she added "As we strengthen our campaign we can achieve more. Now we campaign together at Westminster, we demand the funding and we urge the Council to scrap the consultation until that pressure on the Government has happened. We will push forward with this campaign. Our children's future is too important to stop now."

It was all a warning shot to the City Mayor, the three Salford MPs and councillors who joined the protest. Indeed, there was the surreal sight of councillors and the Mayor wearing the yellow 'Fight For The Five' t-shirts and making sure the Labour Party banner was at the front end of the march, when it was their proposal in the first place to close the nurseries.

It was only after public pressure that the Mayor performed two huge U-turns, firstly postponing the original consultation for a month, and then finding £1.5million at the twelfth hour, before the demonstration was aimed at himself.

The Labour Party politicians present all stressed, correctly, the role of the Tory Government, in changing the funding formula for Early Years, so that the Council has to pay 95% of its funding to other providers of childcare, leaving a deficit in funding for its own in-house nurseries.

Salford and Eccles MP, Rebecca Long-Bailey, read out a statement from Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who, she said, "would have been here today if he could because he absolutely loves Salford ..."

Corbyn wrote: "Tory cuts have failed local councils and failed young children and their families, and the changes to Early Years funding formula continues to fail them. Childhood sets the course of achievement for the whole of a lifetime, not to mention the ability of parents to work themselves. But this Government's disregard of the funding of the key local services not only threatens the families and dedicated staff in five outstanding nurseries in Salford, but it also undermines the Government's claim that they are building solid economic foundations for the future...

"Childcare and Early Years providers must now receive the funding it needs to properly deliver thirty hours of free childcare for three and four year olds, and Government ministers must now listen and act, and listen to Salford..."

The two other Salford MPs present, Graham Stringer and Barbara Keeley, underlined the points, while Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Angela Rayner, told the crowd that "It will be you that wins this campaign and keeps those five nurseries open".

Giving a bit of her own background about never having had the opportunity to read a book because her mum couldn't read or write, and being a mum herself at 16, Angela Rayner added that children deserve the right to be school-ready via nurseries such as those that are under threat in Salford...

"The consultation continues" she concluded "We want to make sure that in the meantime, while Theresa May is on notice, she keeps her filthy paws off Salford Early Years and nurseries..."

Finally, the Salford Mayor also made a speech against the Tory Government, listing a battery of statistics about child poverty and cuts... "Today we want to send a loud message to the Government that enough really is enough" he said.

Despite attempts by Salford Labour Party to turn the protest into its own election rally, the message was also clear that, should Salford's Labour Council consider closure of the five nurseries after the consultation, the anger will also be turned on them too.

After the demonstration, Clare Calderwood, a parent from Winton with two girls at the nursery, told the Salford Star... "I think it's a great turnout; there's so much support...We just hope that they stay with us throughout the campaign and throughout the next year and continue to show their support.

"The extra year was welcomed and we're appreciative that the money has been found" she added "But I want to ensure that doesn't mean the closure happens at the end of that year, and that the pace doesn't slow down over the year..."

Update 26th March: Two days after huge march Salford Council consults on 'alternatives - click here

Photos by Gareth Lyons

For lots more photos of the demo see Gareth Lyons' Flickr page - click here

Aussy Land wrote
at 13:26:55 on 30 March 2018
wrote hits the nail would like to see the one we do not name put onto Big Brother. A scream for Salford yeh a pain off Paul Dennet teams neck. better still send him to Aussy Lands get me out of here to live rough in the jungle and twin it with Salford yeh
at 23:08:50 on 27 March 2018
I can't decide whether this site would be 1000x better if we could block that one commenter who derails every comment thread to make it about him, or if it would be like voting someone annoying out of Big Brother then realising they were oddly entertaining after they've gone.
Sally McStormchaser wrote
at 23:08:30 on 27 March 2018
Kelsey is a failure. End of.
Phil wrote
at 23:08:23 on 27 March 2018
Felsey, I can see that you have learned absolutely nothing from our seven day ban. Your feeble attempt at goading me, what's that all about? You address me as "that Labour Phil person"... you then state that the reason why you are not voting Labour in the local elections is because of the things that that Labour Phil person and Rayofsunshine have come out with over the last twelve months. That is plainly ridiculous as you were standing as an independent in Langworthy less than twelve months ago. Have you forgotten that already? The place where you got fifty five votes. I'm sorry Felsey, I genuinely don't want to engage in foolish slanging matches with you on here, but you are a bit of a Terry Thomas character. A bit of a drama queen. Yes, you do make me laugh, with your histrionic diva-esque statements about how the Mayor has met none of your "demands". It is simply laughable. It's hilarious. The stuff of downbeat comedy drama. I'm thinking along the lines of that bbc animation, Monkey Dust. Good luck to you Felsey. It'd be nice if you were Mayor one day. The ceremonial one with the gold chain that is; but not the one who's in charge. I myself, I'll carry on being left wing, and anticipating the glories of a future Corbyn Labour government. I'm sure that Ray'll be doing the same. And we all know that Mayor Dennett'll go from strength to strength, and that when Jeremy is P.M, Salford City Council will be swimming in money and doing wonderful things for us, the citizens of this great city. And that'll include you, Felsey; unless you've decamped back to Doncatraz.
at 18:58:30 on 27 March 2018
Felsey is like one of those irritating little yappy dogs that hump peoples legs. Most people will not tolerate them and will give them a shove out of the way when the equally irritating owner is not looking. Really it needs to be thrown out the back door to calm down. Felsey has taken to humping the leg of the Salford Star and as yet they have not taken him by the scruff of the neck and thrown him out. Therefore he will keep yapping and humping at nearly every story.
white wrote
at 15:06:57 on 27 March 2018
Mr. Felse is indeed favoured; despite none of his demands being met, he still apparently has Mayor Dennett personally sending him his copy of Life in Salford and voting card. On another matter; when did Michael James Felse become ‘Felsey’. Was the change to make him more voter friendly now that he has become part of ‘the true socialist community’, despite him having at various times been part of every hue of political community?
Phil wrote
at 12:05:46 on 27 March 2018
Why would I criticise the Mayor, Joe? Personally I am very happy with him. I think that he is doing a sterling job. I also don't believe that we could get better than him. And if what the cynics are saying is true, that they were never going to close the nurseries, that they always had the pot of money there, ready to use; and that the point of all of this was to make Mayor Dennett appear to be a Saviour, just before the local elections ... if that is true, then what can I say? Other than that it is a masterstroke. A masterstroke, if what the cynics say is true, performed by a strategist of rare ability. All of this, all that it does, is convince me of the calibre of the Mayor. He's the right man for the job, and Salford Labour are the right council for Salford.
Felsey wrote
at 12:05:42 on 27 March 2018
I thank Mayor Dennett for the free copy of Life in Salford and the freshly printed Voting Card. I take both as the invite to vote. Alas I am afraid the Labour Phil person and Ray of Sunshine turned off the vote Labour knob for me over the year. I do welcome Paul's hand offering to work together on such as saving the Nurseries. I know it will take great strides to rebuild public trust and not yet do I see action instead of words. None of my demands were met. It leaves me to appeal to every disaffected Labour voter to stay at home this May. Throw your postal vote slip into the recycle bin. It is the only way we the true socialist community can force action.
joe O'Neill wrote
at 09:22:05 on 27 March 2018
Niccolò Machiavelli read what he as to say, read what 90% of the people who comment have to say bar you Phil. Are you really the Mayors Love Child. You amaze me living in a flat in salford and still not able to criticise Dennett oh i forgot you let others do your complaining. You can't see what's wrong past the end of your nose, great leader grow up. Read the star Read what's wrong with Dennett and LABOUR transparent open local Government my arse. Talk to the people facing the inability to pay the community charge, the slashed services, filthy streets all this while we float unsupportable rugby, Office blocks we pay the rent on . Business cards i was told only four people had ends up over 70 buying every thing down to manga men toys, life in salford only used in the cat litter tray. the list is endless and you! you think the man is the cities saviour get real. PS Lets hope Steve Bans you again give us all some peace.
Niccolò Machiavelli wrote
at 07:02:00 on 27 March 2018
Evidently, someone has read "The Prince". The Nurseries issue was a despicable cynical manipulation of people & circumstances, focussing on political self-interest for political gain in the forthcoming council elections. The nurseries were never going to close as monies were available from Central Govt to keep them running. By not applying for the said grant from the Dept of Education - and then finding the money at the last moment - Mayor Dennett et al has been able to ride in on his white charger and kill the dragon! It was dead already, just like the principles of the Labour Party with which I had always had an affinity. I shallnt be voting Labour but will abstain due to the despicable manipulation of the electorate on the run up to the elections.
Phil wrote
at 07:00:36 on 27 March 2018
Just like Ray, Joe, I am also tired of the never ending stream of negativity that pours out of your mout. It is relentless. The other day I received the Council's life in Salford mag, where Mayor Dennett gave, for my opinion, a brilliant explanation for what the Tories are doing to Salford, and what he, Mayor Dennett is attempting to do about it. His words resonated with me. I understood then what a capable leader he is, and what a capable Council we Salfordians have. He's a good man with a big heart. We shall not do better than him. Roll on the May elections. Roll on a massive victory for Salford Labour. VIVA SALFORD LABOUR!!!! HURAAAAAHHH SAFORD LAAAABOUUUUUUR!!!!
Unhappy man wrote
at 02:39:35 on 26 March 2018
If the nursery closure gets stopped then money has to come from somewhere. ThE councillors Including the mayor agreed on these cuts and is now changing his mind ‘wait’ is there an election in may of course there is so let’s look good to the people. If this does not go ahead I take it other services in the council 1.5 million worth will have to go
Joe O'Neill wrote
at 02:38:39 on 26 March 2018
Dissatisfied and rebellious a quick description of a malcontent, well Ray of sunshine delves into his dictionary of insults and to be honest it's something new. But at least when i write i offer my thoughts under my real name it's seems strange someone like Ray fears to open us all to his true identity. What does Ray think we need to deal with the issues of a two tier political system that as failed this country. A Labour leader who would do Chamberlin credit or a Tory led coalition bent on ripping out the working class of it's roots. I offer him the chance to meet face to face to offer my views but i feel anyone worried to offer his name would shy away from real debate. Why i bother to respond to someone who hides under a mask i don't know but the kettles on and i have two minutes to spare.
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 20:56:42 on 25 March 2018
For all their synthetic outrage,right wing malcontents, such ás Joe O'Neil,have no solutions for the problems facing Salford.
Gareth L wrote
at 11:12:22 on 25 March 2018
The mayor's speech was interesting as he reeled off stat after stat, citing how the children of Salford were already at a disadvantage. Yet he, and his advisors, are willing to make them more disadvantaged rather than find money from other areas.
Salford Council staff worker wrote
at 10:02:22 on 25 March 2018
It’s a joke working for this council. They pay 200 thousand per year to a city director who effectively has no job. Once Denyit the Mayor gets his finger out I may support this somewhat frivolous campaign.
Paul Whitelegg wrote
at 21:32:52 on 24 March 2018
We have a Labour mayor , 13 assistant Labour mayors , which include the 53 labour councillors on top of 3 Labour MPs and still they try and hurt the people of Salford by blamining the Tory government . I am not. Tory supporter but to see the far left Labour representatives who run Salford stand their bare faced and say they support the nurseries when they have already shut the Grange for disabled children Is an absolute disgrace . It's the people who will keep the nurseries going and if the Far left Labour Party had anything good about them they would start supporting the people of Salford . The amount of waste this Labour Mayor creates is eye watering whilst reducing services to the people and blamining the Tories . Hey how at least in Salford life today which cost a fortune you can see the philharmonic orchestra for 3 quid but the mayor gives £. 60,000 every year supporting this . The Salford star has highlighted the waste and people should take note when voting in the local elections that are due .
Joe Oneill wrote
at 21:32:24 on 24 March 2018
It was spectacular to see so many willing to take time out to support the campaign, in the past normally the cuts are thrown on the table a consultation and then closure. Labour are like an instruction manual the same text, the same actions claiming the same results, but this time i think Labour realised they had a problem the people i have spoken with locally where disgusted how Mr Dennett targeting our Youth, funny really we can drip feed cash to local rugby, office blocks and gardens but our children sink to the bottom only under pressure Labour find the cash. The Tory austerity affecting the city, well don't we have the cash or do we? where do we suddenly find such large sums? it sickened me today when proud caring Salford parents were having their protest orchestrated into a Labour political rally from the people who were ready to close it carrying Labour banners to the Labour advertisement at the rally end. Cynical i think so, next year The council have another £15 million to find so unless Mr Dennett as more surprises expect the closures to pop back on the agenda.
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