Commenting, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said:
“Children’s centres are an absolutely vital source of support for children and families – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds - and yet, for many years now, we have seen funding for these vital services continue to be cut. As a result, hundreds of centres have closed over recent years, with many of those that remain open offering little more than a skeleton service.
"It is unsurprising, yet still concerning, to see the extent to which the Covid crisis has exacerbated this problem, with millions of parents of young children now unable to access the services they need.
“With many parents not only worried about the impact of the pandemic on their children’s development, but also facing challenges of their own – from loneliness to mental health difficulties to parenting concerns – it’s clear that much more must be done to ensure to ensure that all families are able to access the early support they need, when they need it."