A new petition has been launched to try and save a mid-Essex breastfeeding support service from closure.

Last week, it was reported that Essex County Council had decided to cut the infant feeding peer support programme in Brentwood, Basildon, and the surrounding area in 2016 as they attempt to reduce public health service spending.

The conservative-led authority estimated that the move would save £396,000 a year. Protestors, however, say that the programme provides invaluable support and encouragement to new parents in Essex.

Related content: Essex County Council to cut vital breastfeeding support service

A petition has now been set up in the hope that County officials will reconsider their decision to remove the volunteer-based support service.

The petition, which aims to gains 1,500 signatures, was started by the volunteer peer-supporters who currently work within the programme, many of whom had previously been helped by the programme.

They state that: “Support services such as Provide’s Infant Feeding Support Service in Mid-Essex are vital in giving mums information and support to achieve successful breastfeeding, as well as to all new mums and babies however they feed.

“As key-stakeholders of Essex County Council’s service delivery, we have not been included in the Public Health service’s early consultation process and urge the Directorate to reconsider their decision in light of this petition.

“Not only are there potential Equality and Diversity implications – maternity being a protected characteristic – but the cost-benefit of a potentially reduced breastfeeding rate for Essex should be considered in terms of a potentially greater financial burden on the health service.”

If you would like to sign the change.org petition and help save the mid-Essex breastfeeding support service, please click here.