Protesters gathered in Corby over the weekend to rally against planned cuts to children’s centres across the county.
Northamptonshire County Council plans to close four children’s centres in the north of the county, with funding cuts to others.
Campaigners from 4Corby Children held a public event on Saturday (April 2) to oppose the cuts.
Community development worker Sandra Mole said: “The event was fantastic, there was a really lovely atmosphere despite the rain.
“There were probably between 200 and 300 people there and I was really impressed by the support we had and the support from children’s centre staff and county councillors.
“It really highlighted what Corby is good at and that’s pulling together when it needs to.
“Our petition has now reached more than 2,000 signatures and we’ll be presenting that to the county council in the hope that we can trigger a full council debate.”
Corby is home to the UK’s first children’s centre, Pen Green, as well as ones at Exeter, Woodnewton and Kingswood.
In the north of the county, the Croyland and Oakway centres in Wellingborough and Kettering’s Ronald Tree and Thornton centres have all been earmarked for closure.
Miss Mole added: “There will be a public consultation on Friday (April 8) from 4pm to 6pm at the council chamber in the Corby Cube where people can engage with councillors and the powers that be.
“The cuts are so short-sighted and I think it’s wrong to take away these services.
“Corby has built up a fantastic repuation when it comes to children’s centres and to cut it would be disastrous.
“The maths just don’t stack up.”
Cllr Bob Scott (Lab, Lloyds), deputy leader of the Labour group at Northamptonshire County Council, was at the demonstration and said: “Children and families in Corby depend on services provided by our local children’s centres.
“Data shows that children in Corby statistically fair worse in education, income levels, life expectancy and health.
“Children’s centres mitigate against these challenges and further cuts to funding are unfair and totally indefensible.
“The Tories have got the wrong priorities for local families.
“Cutting children’s centre budgets would stop all the advances we have made that help families and that reduce child poverty.
“The administration must as a matter of urgency re-think its inequitable cuts to our local centres.”
Cllr Scott also believes the consultation process being undertaken by the county council is “wholly inadequate”.
He said: “It is vitally important that the county council consults widely with all stakeholders including people who use children centre services across Northamptonshire.
“Tory councillors need to fully understand the consequences of their proposed course of action and it is not possible to ascertain what the impact will be without speaking to local families.”