Sure Start sure to Stop!!!

Also see:

Yesterday, my friend was told that thier playgroup at our local Surestart centre would have to be shut down at the end of June. The reason? The group is not ‘disadvantaged‘ in the PC euro-speak sense of the word.  It means they are not at the end of their tethers and about to snap.  They are not an ethnic minority, they aren’t on income support (many don’t qualify for a penny other than CTC and CB).  They aren’t drug addicts. The children come from two-parent families and are happy, safe, well-fed, loved and well-cared-for.  Due to this our council believe they have no need for fun or educational play with their parents or carers.  Apparently married women whose husbands go to work everyday, have no significant and problems and are in no need of any outside support. It’s not a case of cost.  It’s a case of Tories not being able to satisfy their need to pretend they are in touch with reality.

Just to clarify, of a group of 15 of so,

  • 4 have lost children. 
  • Some of us suffer with post-natal depression, 
  • some with eating disorders, 
  • some have children with behavioural problems. 
  • Some have chronic fatigue syndrome, 
  • some of us just genuinely rely on the help and support of the women in this group to get through a rough patch. 

The group was started so women and children from ALL walks of life could interact with each other and play with their children, to help them learn and to learn something from each other and make friends. They have had specialists in to talk about sleep disorders and tantrums, they’ve organised educational trips for the children and have been there for each other to help and support when times are hard.  This group is something to be proud of and now they’re trying to take it away.  It’s got no overheads bar the use of the room and the group leaders are volunteers.

Nobody is ever excluded but the group are being openly discriminated against for being too ‘normal’.  When asked  what could be done to keep it running, the lady in the Sure Start centre said “Get your children on the Child Protection Register“.  I understand that she was unhappy herself and this was a glib reply given in the heat of the moment, but it seems that only those in the depths of despondency will ever get any help from now on and those who are not there (yet) should apparently stop complaining and be grateful we’re not worse off (as the cost of living soars to pay for the mistakes of the rich and the banks).  What’s next Cameron?  Workhouses?  The return of the poor laws?  Why the need to separate and isolate?

This is social cleansing.  Sure Start centres should cater to EVERY family who are struggling, not be limited according to a rich idiot’s  idea of ‘class’ (yes, Cameron I’m talking about you and your whipping boy, Clegg).  That rich, pampered idiot has NO clue about what ‘the disadvantaged’ are:  those whose flag he loves to wave every time he needs to feel magnanimous and distract us from the tax cuts he’s just given to his rich friends.



You may notice the wording has changed and been added to.

This is because ‘the council’ and some Sure Start staff don’t want us to discuss this outside the group.    I used the centre for the breastfeeding support service regularly.  It was a life saver, I knew nobody in my local area and I was really struggling to keep going.  When I wasn’t breastfeeding I stopped attending.   This group started several months after my son began Scalliwags playschool and it clashed.  This simple event clash apparently means I’m not supposed to care about the group, never mind that this awful precedent also means I won’t be able to attend later services (that our council tax goes toward) either if the Tories go ahead with their insidious social cleansing. It now seems I’m not supposed to care about what doesn’t directly affect me. The world would be in a very sorry state if everyone thought like this.  Pardon me for having a social conscience.

I have changed the words to this as my friend has asked me to (I pasted a post she made and corrected some of the grammar and syntax so they were actually her words) and deleted as many of the posts as I can find but this DOES NOT mean I have to like it.  I’m doing it for the sake of not falling out with someone I like but it still feels like censorship.

I’m going to write a strongly worded letter to my MP!


9 thoughts on “Sure Start sure to Stop!!!

  1. Angela says:

    Lets get this straight – I DO NOT regret what I said to you Anna and will not be apologising!! I have not said anything derogatory towards you. I just stated that your behaviour and comments were unhelpful and not warranted, for someone that had never been to our group. A group that myself and my co-facilitator organise on a voluntary basis, not on behalf of the Surestart centres. We just use the Surestart centre as a venue. So now please get off your ‘soap box’ and stop twisting words that I have said in order to suit you!


  2. Hmmm, I’m not sure that someone who demands that a person shouldn’t care about social services unless they are directly receiving those services and who generally advocates against an open and caring society should be working with children. Perhaps the closure of this Sure Start group would adversely affect the parents that attend but I think it may be in the best interests of the children NOT to be left in a position where they can be influenced by such public displays of negativity and tantrummy behaviour. Perhaps Ms Claisse could take this as a golden opportunity to find a job she likes and is also better suited to. I’m thinking Lighthouse Keeper or Football Referee.


  3. Angela Claisse says:

    Anna, you have never been to our group and have never commented on our group’s facebook page, so I find this blog of yours quite bizarre to be honest with you. Why do you care so much about a group ending that you have never attended and have never benefitted from? It seems you are just looking for an argument and were trying to rile up our group members with your negative comments. You can’t argue this matter by saying it’s because you ‘care’ – you don’t. You just want a juicy bit of gossip for your latest blog!
    You were not in the room when the closure of the group was being discussed during our parents forum meeting, nor do you know the full reasons why we have been asked to end our group, so please keep your ‘views’ about this to yourself. No one is asking you not to ‘care’, the council are not trying to ‘silence’ you and it is not a form of ‘censorship’. Karen and I as facilitators of this group are simply asking you to not use our group as an example for your ‘blog’. In future, maybe you will think about resourcing your ‘blog’ material from areas and issues that DO directly affect you.


    • If you actually knew me, and were not so certain that you know my intentions’ you would know that I have always been outspoken in my views. You are the one being negative and you have formed an extremely negative view of someone you have never met.

      I left your precious FB group when you made it clear I am about as welcome there as the plague. I will also continue to make sure the group continues because that sort of service is invaluable and should be available to everyone. As for not caring, dread to think what the world would be like if everyone thought like you and only care about what they personally benefit from. Sure Start wouldn’t exist if everyone was that self centered. I was trying to help and suggest proactive ideas to raise awareness. You chose to take them as ‘negative’ so I suggest you take a long hard look at yourself before projecting your paranoia and neuroses on to me.


      • karen scharde says:

        we have decided to form a positive attack on the council by showing to them how the group has helped us and our children. We are currently writing testimonials, showing them pictures etc. Which we will then take to the relevant people. Council members, the mayor and also our local mps. We feel a positive first approach is a better 1 than going in all guns blazing accusing them of everything under the sun. I have seen u have left the grp im sorry u felt we were negative 2 ur comments but i think we just all felt a little overwhelmed by ur extremeness, i know i was a little upset by you using my personal circumstances on this blog to make a point. Especially as i never gave anyone permission to (this includes our mutual friend). All we are asking for is that u respect that some of ur do things in a different way and dont want our personal problems and experiences banded around in cyber space. I know i have only met you a few times and at no point ever wanted to make an enemy of you and im just asking u to look at this from our point of view and understand why we are a little upset. Maybe we can now draw a line under this and if u feel u wish to persue this cause maybe you will do the right thing by taking out mine and members of the groups personal details from this blog. Thank you x


      • Angela Claisse says:

        As you know and have stated in your ‘blog’, there are a number of mums in our group who suffer from depression and anxiety, so I find your use of the words paranoia and neuroses to be quite untactful. Therefore, suggesting that you choosing to remove yourself from our facebook group was probably for the best. Your actions were not ‘proactive’ as you suggest, they purely managed to aggravate the situation, which was not what we were trying to achieve. And yes, you are right, we do not know you. Nor do you know us or our group, so thank you for your time and your ‘help’, but we can take it from here thank you.


  4. karen scharde says:

    we are not asking u not 2 care or be supportive of the group its aims and objectives and the fact that everything u have put above i agree with whole heartedly im just asking u 2 respect the fact that as 1 of the facilitors of the group its my neck on the line. I am a sahm of 2 children who has suffered the loss of a baby and extremely bad pnd. I am not in a position 2 undertake a 1 woman crusade against the council. We as a grp want 2 make our point heard and wish 2 raise it, we just dont want 2 lose this valuable lifeline in the meantime as it means so much and the longer we can keep it running at the centre the better. The centre have been very supportive 2 myself and my friend and it was us, NOT the council who have asked extremely nicely for details of the group and the details of a private group meeting to be removed from public circulation. Im not asking u not 2 care or be involved im just asking u 2 respect mine and my friends wishes as i said we are in essence council employees (even though we are volunteers) and at this present moment in time we need to keep things normal and running the same whilst we agree a plan as a group on the best way forward. This group was started to help parents with parental issues and be there as a support group for each other and even during this difficult time we feel we should tackle this problem in the same manner. May i leave u with a thought now Anna, sometimes holding your horses and thinking a little and evaluating the situation is better than jumping in all guns blazing. I have learnt this through valuable life lessons. Things happen for a reason and its how u deal with it that matters and im in this for the long run so i need 2 look at the bigger picture.


    • You personally have not said anything to upset me but it’s clear that my input and even my presence is unwelcome. Angela has now threatened me with legal action for slander (forgetting conveniently what she has accused me of), she doesn’t have a case as there is a public record of what she wrote to me. What is conspicuous however is that nobody is calling Angela up for her rudeness. I’m done with this issue and don’t have time for drama she’s working so hard to create. I will not be removing the comments Angela has left on here, she has been extremely rude to me and I’m not going to let her just erase that so she can feel better about herself. I have not mentioned anyone by name in my posts, nor made information available that would allow people to be tracked down, so she has no case and is just going to have to lump the consequences of what she wrote to me in public (there is an option to email me privately). If Angela truly regrets what she said as she seems to, she need only apologise as publicly as she berated me with her groundless and public accusation above, rather than throwing a tantrum and demanding I remove her comments. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt that she is capable of rational adult behaviour.


Please also rate this post. Thanks

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s