Stephanie on her visit to Mary
Stephanie on her visit to Mary's Little Lambs nursery in Grimethorpe

In the last month we have marked both Children in Need and the UN World Children’s Day.

To coincide with this, I visited Mary’s Little Lambs, a family run early years education centre in Grimethorpe, as well as Birkwood Primary School in Cudworth, where there were bun sales and pupils had dressed up in lots of different outfits to celebrate.

Many of you also took part in fantastic fundraising activities across the week, with lots of schools, nurseries and businesses across Barnsley East joining in the fun and raising thousands of pounds for the many brilliant causes who benefit from Children in Need.

It has been amazing to see our community come together to help deserving children across our town.

Recent figures show that a quarter of children in Barnsley are currently growing up in poverty, with this number rising to over 50% in some areas of Barnsley East. This is completely unacceptable, and our children deserve better.

We need to see Government action locally to tackle these issues, a reversal of the cuts to Sure Start Centres, a return of youth services and investment in secure jobs for those families stuck in the cycle of insecure work.

Further, research shows that many children, particularly those from poorer backgrounds, are missing out on extra-curricular activities like playing competitive sport, swimming or joining a local dance class or drama group because sadly there isn’t any spare money in many households to pay for these.

No matter what their background, where they live, or who they are, every child should have enough to eat each day, a good education, and the chance to take part in enriching activities.

This is why Labour have promised to offer every child the opportunity to experience ten extra-curricular activities by the time they reach ten years old.

This will include opportunities to engage in sport, musical instruments, swimming, and performing arts, as well as enjoy visits to the seaside, countryside, heritage centres and camping sites.

After 20 months of lockdowns, it is clearer than ever that the outside world has so much to offer our young people.

Together, we can make sure every child gets the start to life they deserve.

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