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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 14:13 GMT
Mothers' anger over creche cuts
Dolly Dean
Dolly Dean protested with her two children Elsa and Stella McGregor
More than 100 mothers have staged a protest in Edinburgh against plans to close creches at the city's leisure and sports centres.

Parents demonstrated outside council offices on George IV Bridge as councillors arrived for their monthly full council meeting.

Campaigners said they feared the loss of six creches across the city would exacerbate post-natal depression.

Mothers with babies and toddlers waived placards and chanted "Save our creche".

The move follows the announcement by Edinburgh Leisure of plans to cut six of its eight creches as part of efforts to save 300,000.

The Royal Commonwealth Pool and Ainslie Park Leisure Centre are the two creches which will remain running.

Dolly Dean, 42, who uses Portobello Leisure Centre's creche, said she was "outraged and shocked" at the news of the closures.

Emma Jones with baby Emily Clark
Emma Jones with baby Emily Clark on George IV Bridge

The mother-of-two said: "I gave birth four months ago and so I need to use the creche so I can go to the pool for post-pregnancy fitness.

"I take my elder child, Stella, who is two, to the pool for swimming lessons but I wont be able to do that if I can't put my baby in the creche.

"It is not practical to go to the Royal Commonwealth Pool and anyway it's always fully booked.

"I am angry and upset at this move, which is going to make exercising for parents with small children very difficult."

Emma Jones, a mother-of-two, said she had been using Portobello Leisure Centre for three years.

"My children have built up such a rapport with the creche staff that I just don't know how to tell them they won't be seeing them any more.

Jacqueline Sells with daughter Sylvie Sells
Mother Jacqueline Sells takes part in the protest

"My three-year-old just adores the staff and therefore he would miss them terribly.

"And what about mothers with post-natal depression? Doctors say exercise helps with post-natal depression.

"They have also just replaced the gym equipment, which wasn't necessary, and put staff on courses who have been there for 30 years, its ridiculous."

Jacqueline Sells, 30, said her three-year-old daughter, Sylvie, has problems with her feet and cannot run, so uses the pool for exercise.

"I wont be able to take Sylvie now to the pool as I need the creche to look after her baby sister, Mabel.

"I am outraged and distressed about these closures as my daughter learns a valuable skill, swimming, which helps her confidence and allows her to exercise as she can't run.

"I hope councillors see sense as it flies in the face of what they work for in the community in terms of health and family."

Mothers protest over creche cuts
13 Mar 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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