Yesterday, the Save Salford Nurseries campaigners took their fight to Westminster, as a coach load of supporters, including City Mayor, Paul Dennett, councillors from Cadishead, John Walsh, and Walkden North, Sammie Bellamy, travelled down to the Parliament to meet with MPs and discuss nursery funding.
The campaign delegation was joined in the Palace of Westminster by MPs Rebecca Long-Bailey, Barbara Keeley, Andrew Gwynne, Tracy Brabin, Daniel Zeichner, Eleanor Smith and Sandy Martin along with Ben Thomas, the UNISON National Officer for Early Years.
The importance of keeping the nurseries open and in local authority control was discussed, including speeches from politicians, nursery staff, parents and union representatives, with a particularly passionate speech from Andrew Gwynne.
It is apparent that the Government changes to early years funding aren't just affecting Salford's nurseries, it is a nationwide problem. Tracy Brabin, Shadow Early Years Minister, talked about the Early Years Funding Formula, originally proposed by David Cameron, and how it simply wasn't working and was "doing it on the cheap".
Notably, no Government MPs or representative met the campaign delegation, giving reasons that they didn't have the space in their diaries. To ensure their voices were heard, the campaign then held a noisy protest outside the Department for Education and were joined by the President of the NUT, Kiri Tunks.
The Government has now agreed to meet campaign representatives on 16th May. This next step will be key in securing vital funding to ensure the future of Salford's five outstanding Council-run nurseries remaining in local authority control.
Words and photos by Lee Shannon.
For a full background see previous Salford Star article - click here and follow the links at the end.