Families urged to have their say as children's centre closure consultation enters final month - The Rugby Observer

Families urged to have their say as children's centre closure consultation enters final month

Andy Morris 3rd Aug, 2017   0

FAMILIES still have a month left to have their say on Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC) plans to scrap children’s centres across the county.

The Council plans to save £1.1million by axing 27 of the county’s 39 children’s centres and converting the remaining 12 into ‘hubs’ – to help make up a £67million cut in WCC’s government funding.

But the council says it wants the hubs to provide a wider range of services than are currently available at children’s centres, which offer help and advice to parents and prospective parents.

A month of public meetings on the proposals has come to an end, but the council wants to give more parents the chance to have a say by taking part in an online consultation or arranging an informal meeting.

The council also wants to hear from organisations and community groups about how services for under-5s could be delivered.

WCC children’s services spokesman Coun Jeff Morgan said: “This consultation is about reshaping the services we provide through children’s centres with partners in health and other organisations so that they may become more cost-effective, sustainable, focused on the children who most need support and provided as early as possible.

“We will need to look at offering some of those services in different ways that address the varied and evolving needs of Warwickshire families.

“We are committed to listening to ideas and developing conversations so I hope everyone with an interest in these services, even those who have not used children’s centres before, will get involved.”

Campaign group Save Warwickshire Children’s Centres is opposing the cuts.

A spokeswoman said: “Cutting these services will have a huge impact on our children’s start in life.

“Proposed cuts to staff who support priority families will almost certainly lead to increasing numbers of children being taken into care.”

Campaign member Jim Ellis from Rugby added: “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.”

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.

In Warwick district, centres in Kenilworth, Kingsway, Newburgh, St Johns and Whitnash face the axe, while Lillington, Sydenham and Westgate centres would become hubs.

And in Stratford district, Alcester children’s centre would be converted into a hub, leaving centres in Badger Valley, Clopton, Lighthorne Heath, Southam, Stratford, Studley and Wellesbourne at risk.

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’.

The proposals will not affect pre-schools, libraries or other associated buildings.

Call 01926 742350 to arrange a face-to-face meeting. Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/familyhubsconsultation for more information and to take the online survey. The consultation ends on September 11.


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