A much valued Early Years Scotland (EYS) service supporting parents of children aged between three and six years old is to close after Dumfries & Galloway Council decided to withdraw its funding.
The Incredible Years programme had been successfully helping participating parents strengthen their parenting skills and boost their children’s development.
At the same time, the council has stopped funding EYS's pre-five service which provided vital support and guidance to over 20 voluntary run nurseries and playgroups throughout Dumfries & Galloway.
The cuts mean that there are now no early years services provided by the third sector in the whole of Dumfries & Galloway.
EYS has worked in partnership with the council for more than 20 years, and was astonished and extremely disappointed to find out on the council’s website that the cuts were going to be made the following day.
No formal or other communication had been received by EYS prior to this being discovered online.
The organisation suspects that the council deliberately delayed releasing information about the cuts, and that it did so in order to minimise the time period available for the kind of public criticism it faced last year when it ceased funding EYS services for young children and families in communities where there is no alternative provision.
Chief Executive of EYS, Jean Carwood-Edwards, said:
“We are deeply disappointed that Dumfries & Galloway Council has taken the decision to stop funding these services, and alarmed at the manner in which we found out.
“Early Years Scotland has been working in partnership with the council for many years and has always understood and appreciated that the tightening squeeze on local authority finances have meant tough decisions on funding services have had to be made. We have, however, always had a full and open dialogue whenever the continuation of our services has been in doubt, but this was sadly not the case when the council put an end to the last of our services for young children and parents in Dumfries & Galloway.
“The removal of the Incredible Years programme will leave the many parents and children who have been benefiting greatly from the service without any adequate replacement or support.
“And ending our service assisting voluntary run early years nurseries to run smoothly and efficiently means that they will lose a lifeline to precisely the type of professional support they will need more than ever when funded nursery provision doubles to 1140 hours from August 2020.”
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