Thursday, 25 March 2010

Crèche Campaign Wrapped Up In The Guardian

Today the Guardian launched a new local Edinburgh site and the end of the Save Our Crèches campaign was one of the featured articles.

You can see the article and hear the accompanying audio interview here.

Last Day of Crèche Services Tomorrow

Just to remind you that Edinburgh Leisure's four remaining crèches close tomorrow. Down at Portobello this morning the team were sifting toys and chatting to visitors, as well as playing with their last few customers!

I'm sure you'll join with us in thanking all of the crèche staff for all they've done for us and our children over the years, and in wishing them very well for the future.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The End Of The Road

Sadly, the campaign received news yesterday that the four remaining Edinburgh Leisure crèches are to close on 26 March 2010.

Edinburgh Leisure have confirmed that they will not trial a scheme proposed by the campaign, the intention of which was to charge enough to cover the cost of the crèche. This is in spite of the fact that many of you have said directly that you would pay more for the crèche. And in spite of the fact that a Council Motion to find an alternative way to provide crèches was passed unanimously in December. This has to raise serious questions about who exactly public bodies such as Edinburgh Leisure are accountable to. And it has to raise serious questions about how committed Edinburgh Leisure ever were to providing crèches long term.

This is clearly a very disappointing end to the campaign. It's also a blow to the health and wellbeing of women and children across the city, many of whom will now be excluded from leisure facilities which have been paid for with public money, and should be available to all.

Many, many thanks to all of you who joined the campaign. All that remains now is for us to support the fantastic crèche staff in the coming weeks - I'm sure all of you agree that they have done a sterling job and we, and our children, will miss them greatly.

Friday, 12 February 2010

That Council Budget Cut In Full...

The campaign received confirmation yesterday that City of Edinburgh Council have gone ahead with the full proposed budget cut for Edinburgh Leisure - sadly there will be no money ringfenced for creche provision.

Clearly this isn't the news we were hoping for.

However, we are still awaiting a decision from Edinburgh Leisure as to whether or not they will pilot a new costing scheme proposed by the campaign.

A massive thank you to you all for your support so far, and if you can, please help by contacting Edinburgh Leisure to give your further support to the proposed costing plan - you can read details in the previous post. We're hopeful that it could really work!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Last Chance - Radical New Cost Neutral Proposal For Crèches

Last chance to Save Our Crèches! A radical new cost neutral proposal for keeping the crèches open has been worked up by the on behalf of the campaign. Just as a reminder, this campaign has been backed by:

- the Royal College of GPs
- the Royal College of Midwives, and even
- City of Edinburgh Full Council themselves, in a motion passed on 17 December last year.

Deidre Brock, Convenor of the Council's Culture and Leisure Committee kindly agreed to meet Save Our Crèches to discuss any new proposals we had. These had to be cost neutral proposals that would enable the Full Council motion to be met, whilst also generating a saving to EL.

Therefore a completely new proposal has been worked up. You can view it here.

This proposal would enable Edinburgh to retain some crèches, at no further cost to Edinburgh Leisure and so should hopefully ‘tick all necessary boxes’ for CEC and EL. However, it's all down to Cllr Brock now to take forward!

Please give her your support ( ) and show her that this is something YOU care about and not just the 5 of us who were able to meet her in person.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Save Our Crèches gets growing support in House of Commons

We've just had an update from Mark Lazarowicz, MP about the progress of his Early Day Motion in the House of Commons. So far 13 MPs have signed the motion - you can see the details here.

Many thanks to all the MPs who have supported us!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Edinburgh Evening News - Councillors Need To Take Note!

Please take a look at today's Edinburgh Evening News for coverage of the campaign's latest way of attracting the councillors' attention. We're working on persuading the councillors to ringfence the £130,000 Edinburgh Leisure say they need to subsidise the creches - and focussed on this by handing out "Bank of Hope" notes worth just that much to all of the councillors on Friday.

Let's keep hoping!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Full City of Edinburgh Council Meeting - Questions and Answers about Crèches

Today there is a full meeting of City of Edinburgh Council. These are the details of questions and answers put to the Council about the Edinburgh Leisure Crèches.

If there are any further updates from this meeting, we'll be sure to let you know!

Councillor Gordon Buchan
Scottish Conservative Councillor for Fountainbridge / Craiglockhart Ward

By Councillor Buchan to be answered by the Convener of the Culture and Leisure Committee at a meeting of the Council on 28 January 2010

Question (1)
Please advise in detail on the discussions held between the City Council, Edinburgh Leisure, Save our Crèches and third parties on examining ways to provide suitable crèche facilities at Ainslie Park, Gracemount, Portobello and Drumbrae sports centres.

Answer (1)
Edinburgh Leisure wrote to 97 nursery providers to alert them to the potential opportunity to operate a crèche service from within the above four Edinburgh Leisure facilities. In addition to this, an advert was placed in the Scotsman inviting expressions of interest.

Edinburgh Leisure has received 10 responses to these invitations and eight providers have requested further information and a meeting with Edinburgh Leisure.

To date, six meetings have been held with those who had expressed an interest. No formal interest has been noted in providing alternative crèche provision as of yet. Further meetings with potential providers are anticipated. Edinburgh Leisure has kept Council officers and the Convener of Culture and Leisure up to date with progress.

A meeting also took place with representatives of the crèche users [Save our Crèches] on Tuesday 19 January 2010 at which Edinburgh Leisure provided an update on progress in securing alternative service providers.

Question (2)
Please advise on the likelihood of crèche facilities remaining in operation for the next two financial years.

Answer (2)
Edinburgh Leisure has advised that there is no likelihood of crèche services presently provided by them remaining operational beyond March 2010. Discussions with third parties are ongoing.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Latest News - Edinburgh Leisure Explore Options

Following on from our last post about the meeting between Save Our Crèches and Edinburgh Leisure, we've had some more news from Ken Harvey of EL.

Save Our Crèches, and some local councillors, asked in the meeting if EL had explored the possibility of working with Childcare Connections to continue the crèche service, specifically at Gracemount. Since then, EL and Childcare Connections have met and discussed this idea.

Childcare Connections exist to provide after school and school holiday care for children in the south of Edinburgh, and the external funding they receive subsidises this. They do provide "one-off" crèche services for events, but don't receive any subsidy for crèches and as a result they need to charge enough for crèche services to cover their costs. Given that all of the crèches are subsidised by EL at the moment, neither EL nor CC could find any way to run the EL crèches without some subsidy, so it would seem that this idea isn't going to work.

Discussions with North Edinburgh Childcare and SmileChildcare have had similar outcomes.

Not great news at the moment, but pleased to see signs of action!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Meeting with Edinburgh Leisure 19 January 2010 - Our Notes

Last Tuesday, 19 January, a group of us from the campaign had the chance to meet with Ken Harvey and Neil Brown from Edinburgh Leisure.

You can see our notes from the meeting here, together with figures that they provided later.

Let us know what you think...

Sunday, 17 January 2010


Councillors decide in the next few days if they'll follow up on their words of support for our campaign (in the motion passed unanimously on 17th Dec 2009), by ringfencing £130,000 in their grant to Edinburgh Leisure to secure our crèche provision.

Please contact your councillors one last time to urge them to ring fence this cash.

We've made a video for councillors and everyone else to see. It's called 50 reasons... and you can watch it here. Please take a look and forward to others.

We meet Edinburgh Leisure on Tuesday to argue our case - watch this space for updates.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Decision Time Approaching - Please Act!

It's coming up to final decision time on the future of Edinburgh Leisure's crèches.

We have a meeting scheduled for this coming Tuesday (19th Jan) near Ainslie Park at 10.30am – it's our chance to put our case to Edinburgh Leisure directly - please, if you can come and lend support in any way that'd be fantastic - no need to speak or anything if you don't want to, but the more of us there the better to show how keen we are to keep the 4 crèches open if at all possible. If you can come, please email us using the link here by Monday 18 Jan midday.

(We can then give you further details about where to go).

If you can't come to the meeting above please can you pop in and see your councillor to make one final plea for them to vote for £130 000 ring-fenced in the Edinburgh Leisure budget to save the crèches. (Councillors decide how much cash to give EL and can say if any of it is to be ring fenced for specific use).

If you can't do either of the above please, please can you email the following councillors, who are members of the Council’s Culture and Leisure Committee.;;;;;;;;;;;;

You can write about why you want the crèches saved, or you can just personalise the draft email below which should only take 1 minute of your time.

Many, many thanks for your help in this final push.

Draft email
Dear (insert councillor's name)

My name is (add your name) and I use (add your crèche and any other details) crèche which is threatened with closure. I urge you to vote for £130 000 to be ring fenced for Edinburgh Leisure crèches in the forthcoming Edinburgh Council budget. The council was unanimous in supporting our motion to save the crèches at the last full council meeting on 17th December, 2009. Thanks again for your vote.

Please can you follow up your words with actions and ensure these important services are saved so that Edinburgh's parents and carers are not discriminated against through lack of access to exercise facilities.

Yours (add your name again here)
PS For more information please look up our website

Monday, 11 January 2010

Let's Make Some Noise!

Hello all -

After a festive break we're back on the campaign trail again - hope everyone had a good holiday and is ready to make some noise about crèche closures.

So far this year our group
  1. has sent every one of the City of Edinburgh councillors a letter thanking them for supporting our motion in December - and asking them to follow through with that support,
  2. are meeting with Edinburgh Leisure representatives as soon as we can, and
  3. are organising a video to remind councillors of the need to rework budgets.

What are you doing? We'd love to know. So post on Facebook, send us an email or comment here. We'd also like feedback on what's been done so far and ideas, if you have any, of what we should all be doing.

But we need to make more noise. So everyone who can possibly can, please make it a New Year's resolution to do something for the campaign now.

You can

  • follow up on any questions with your councillors,
  • write to Edinburgh Leisure,
  • look at previous blogs for inspiration,
  • be part of our video.

Let's keep the noise going!

Quality Childcare - Worth fighting For