Campaigners fighting to defend children's centres in Sheffield from closure reached a milestone today when a protest petition reached 5,000 signatures - enough to trigger a debate in the city's council chamber.
Every weekday parents, toddlers and staff from one of 20 children's centres in Sheffield picket and collect petition signatures outside Sheffield town hall between 9am and 3pm, come wind, rain and icy weather.
The pickets operate on a rota basis, with staff, parents and children from individual centres across the city taking their turn outside the town hall.
They are building for a major demonstration in the city on Saturday January 19 and will continue their daily protests to "keep up the pressure."
Campaign organiser Sally Pearse said: "We had to get 5,000 signatures to trigger a full council debate. We've already passed that figure but we wanted to keep up the protest at the town hall to show that this campaign will not go away and we will be there every day up to January 18."
She said 20 centres in the city face having their funding withdrawn from April 1 thanks to the coalition government's cuts to Sheffield council's budget - £50 million this year on top of £140m already imposed.
Many of the centres serve some of Sheffield's most needy inner-city areas.
Ms Pearse is involved in one of them in Tinsley, a multi-cultural community where many of the centre's users are bilingual.
She added: "We have a 60-place day nursery for children and we run adult training and health activities. There are no other nurseries in this community at all. There is no other support for working parents."
The campaign has brought together trade unions and the centres' users, involving the GMB, PCS, Community Unite South Yorkshire, NUT and the Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance.
The January 19 demonstration gathers at 11am at Devonshire Green in Sheffield.