Campaigners fear 'another Victoria Climbie or Daniel Pelka' when Warwickshire children's centres close - The Rugby Observer

Campaigners fear 'another Victoria Climbie or Daniel Pelka' when Warwickshire children's centres close

Andy Morris 16th Aug, 2017 Updated: 17th Aug, 2017   0

CAMPAIGNERS fear plans to scrap children’s centres across Warwickshire could lead to ‘another Victoria Climbie or Daniel Pełka’ – children who were murdered by their parents or guardians.

Concerned parents, carers and council staff have signed petitions opposing Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC) plans to turn at least 12 of the county’s 39 children’s centres into ‘family hubs’ – with the rest to be either used as outreach sites, or no longer funded by the council.

Rugby campaigner Jim Ellis, who stood for Hillmorton ward in May’s County Council elections, handed a 1,850-signature petition to WCC and said other campaigns around the county had attracted similar support.

He said the closure or downgrading of children’s centres was ‘worrisome’.

He added: “It is liable to lead to another Victoria Climbie or Daniel Pełka as children slip through a well-meaning but badly performing patch-up of service.

“The idea that church groups or community centres could deliver these services has been discussed, and many agree the volunteers that serve these groups are ill equipped.

“The pennies that the services cost today will lead to pounds in solving problems in the future.

“We would ask the council to review the decision and ask for the appropriate budget from Government which will cost less than fixing problems in the future.”

The centres, which offer help and advice to parents and prospective parents, are facing cuts of £1.1million to help make up for the £67million drop in WCC’s government funding.

In Rugby, Claremont and Oakfield children’s centres would be converted into hubs, while centres in Cawston, Dunchurch, Hillmorton, Newbold and Wolston could be closed.

The hubs will provide children and families with a range of services, while remaining centres will be ‘subject to reassessment, including alternative options and potential closure’.

A public consultation on the plans closes on September 11. Call 01926 742350 to arrange a face-to-face meeting, or visit to take an online survey.

An online petition has also been set up by Warwick mother Kerry Carr, calling on the council to reconsider its plans. Visit to sign the petition.

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