CAMPAIGNERS are to protest against controversial changes to early help services that could see children's centres across South Bucks close down permanently.

Burnham Children's Centre, Minnicroft Road, and The Ivers Children Centre, Grange Way are among the 35 Buckinghamshire facilities that would be axed under the changes.

Bucks County Council (BCC) is aiming to create a less centralised structure with nine new hubs that would be based in the areas of highest need, providing parenting courses and sessions for parents in need of support. Local sessions would be held in community settings like schools, village halls and coffee shops for those outside the hubs' reach. The changes could save BCC up to £3.3 million.

A campaign group 'Save Buckinghamshire’s Children’s Centres', say axing the children’s centres will affect children and their parents who rely on the service.

A leading member of the campaign, Alka Dass, 42, said the service has proven vital to her family, particularly her 22-month-old son.

Ms Dass said: “Without the help of my health visitor and the children's centres throughout the last 18 months, I would have found it even more difficult.

“I would have been very lost without the centres and the support they provide and I also have made friends with mothers there. For a lot of families, these are not just children’s centres, but the place communities of new families are created.

A BCC consultation on the changes gathered more than 2,000 responses, but a petition set up by the campaigners to save the centres has so far attracted more than 2,340 signatures.

Ms Dass said: “We need to think about the future of our children.”

Mrs Dass and her supporters will be protesting outside the BCC offices in Aylesbury on November 13, when the Early Help changes will be discussed.

In response to the high level of feedback to the consultation, BCC have chosen to postpone their decision until January 8, 2018.

BCC's cabinet member for Children's Services, Warren Whyte, said: “We want to develop the right service for children and families in Buckinghamshire, one that is fit for the future. For this reason, we are extending the timeline for a final decision on the future of early help until the new year.

"It is important that we develop a model that will improve the lives of families who need us the most and that we take the time to get it right.”