POLITICIANS can often appear plastic, but one schoolgirl has taken this a step further in a bid to save the county’s children’s centres.
St Ebbe’s Primary School pupil Lucy Marshall has made a stop-motion film starring Sylvanian Family toy figures as Oxfordshire politicians.
The 11-year-old with help from brother Oliver, eight, made the YouTube video for a current affairs homework assignment, with assistance from parents Emma Hill and Bryan Marshall.
It features animal versions of Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron, a raccoon; Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth, a bear; county councillor Melinda Tilley, a sheep; and even Oxford Mail reporter Matt Oliver, a mouse.
Miss Marshall, of Grandpont, said: “We wanted to tell people about the children’s centres and let them know what is going to happen, but also in a funny way. “Me and my brother used to go to the centres with our mum.
“They should not be closed down because people really need them.”
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In the video, reporter Matt Oliver interviews people at a fictional children’s centre before county council leader Mr Hudspeth arrives and says “we have no money and need to make some difficult decisions.
“I declare this children’s centre closed.”
Miss Marshall’s mother, Dr Hill, said there was a more serious point behind the light nature of the video.
“Many people still don’t know the county council is proposing to close the children’s centres,” she said. “I hope Lucy’s video can help to raise awareness, because they are a vital service.”
It came as Save Oxfordshire’s Children’s Centres campaign leader Jill Huish said in a letter to Mr Cameron she was “baffled” he had “done nothing” to save the centres from closure and challenged him to protect their funding.
The closures are part of cost-cutting measures proposed by the county council to save £8m, which is facing real-terms cuts of millions to its budget.
The proposals would see all 44 of the county’s children centres and seven early intervention hubs shut and replaced with eight ‘family and resources centres’, scrapping universal services and focusing only on the most vulnerable.
It has been fiercely opposed by campaigners, who say children’s centres should be available for all parents.
They have now gathered more than 6,100 signatures on an e-petition against the closures.
The Oxford Mail asked Mr Cameron’s office to comment on the letter, but received no response.
For information visit saveoxfordshireschildrenscentres.com