Parents’ plea for ‘vital’ baby group in Fairfield to stay open

Fairfield Sure Start Cemtre, angry members of the mums and babies group
Fairfield Sure Start Cemtre, angry members of the mums and babies group

Concerned parents are calling for a “vital” baby group in Fairfield to remain open.

The last baby group meeting at the Fairfield Sure Start Children’s Centre, on Victoria Park Road, is to take place on Friday.

Following the closures of the Chapel-en-le-Frith and Harpur Hill centres, it means parents will have nowhere else nearby to take their children.

Derbyshire County Council announced proposals earlier this year to close 32 children’s centres across the county to save £4.3m following a reduction in funding from the government.

Hayley Brailsford, 29, of Hassop Close, Fairfield, who attends a baby group at the centre every Friday morning with her eight-month-old son, Vinnie-Oliver, said: “It is really important that we get something because it is a vital service.

“We have nowhere else to go because the centres at Chapel and Harpur Hill have also closed.

“The group is great if you ever have any concerns, it is like another family.

“The babies get to play with all the toys and the parents can discuss any issues they have.”

Support worker Hayley attends the baby group along with up to 20 other parents.

The mums give each other advice and also seek support from staff at the centre.

Hayley said: “We have all talked about the closure and said that we would like somewhere else to go.

“The staff always point you in the right direction if you need any help and offer great advice to all the families.”

Fellow parent, Ella Armitt, said: “I’m a new mum and I have just started going to baby days with my nine-week-old week son. I feel this is a great loss to the community as it provides a valuable support network for parents and enables children to interact with others at an early age which will aid their future social development.”

And parent Lisa Martyn said: “All of us at the group are very upset that this is happening, we all get so much from the group parents and babies, its nice to see the babies playing together and for us parents it’s great to swap tips and get really valuable advice from the support workers.”

A spokesman for the county council said: “While we have been able to keep Fairfield Children’s Centre open, the number of staff who work there is being reduced and this has affected the services and groups that we can run, including the weekly ‘baby days’ group.

“We don’t want it to stop running, and if we can find enough volunteers over the summer to start up the group again in September then it will carry on.”