Children`s centres to close?

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Children`s centres to close?

Northamptonshire County Council is launching a consultation into proposed changes to children s centre services in the county.

The county council needs to save £65million in 2016/17, including a £3million reduction in funding for children s centres.

Children s centre services will still be available across Northamptonshire, but it s planned that a larger proportion of the funding available for services will be used in areas of greatest need, such as Northampton East and Central, Corby and Wellingborough.

Following discussions with children s centre providers, the county council will now hold a six-week consultation on proposals which could see the closure of eight of Northamptonshire s 50 children s centres  Wootton, Headlands and Parklands in Northampton, Ronald Tree and Thornton in Kettering, Croyland and Oakway in Wellingborough, and Bugbrooke in south Northamptonshire.

Services at a further nine centres will be transferred to the local library or another community venue, and all areas of the county are likely to see a change in the services available.

County council deputy leader and cabinet member for children s services Cllr Heather Smith said:  Reduced funding from central government and unprecedented demand for public services means the county council will have to make £65m savings in the coming financial year, including a £3m reduction in children s centre services.

 We have been consulting on the reduction in the children s centre services budget since December and this consultation invites comments on how this reduction will affect specific children s centres.

 We ve worked closely with our providers  Action for Children, Spurgeons and the Corby Children s Centre Consortium  to come up with these proposals, which will see services continue to be available across Northamptonshire, but a larger proportion of the funding available for services will be used in areas of greatest need, based upon the latest deprivation data.

 A great deal has changed since children s centres were first introduced in Northamptonshire more than a decade ago. They now bring together a range of support including health visiting, childcare, family support and adult learning. We want to make sure that we can continue to provide this support, but we need to do it with less money.

 Furthermore, families can access a wide range of help, support and activities at all 36 libraries across Northamptonshire, making services more accessible for all.

To take part in the consultation, which closes on April 28th, visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/childrenscentreconsultation.

A final decision will be made at the Cabinet meeting in May.

The eight children s centres proposed for closure are:

Wootton in Northampton
Headlands in Northampton
Parklands in Northampton
Ronald Tree in Kettering
Thornton in Kettering
Croyland in Wellingborough
Oakway in Wellingborough
Bugbrooke

The nine children s centres proposed to move to another venue are:

Long Buckby  moving to library
Woodford Halse  moving to library
Meadowside in Kettering  moving to library
Rothwell  moving to library
Gloucester in Northampton  moving to Far Cotton library
Vernon Terrace in Northampton  moving to Central Library
Deanshanger  moving to library
Towcester  moving to library
Camrose in Northampton  moving to the Kings Heath site

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