PLANS to scrap children’s centres in Warwickshire have been put out to public consultation.
Warwickshire County Council (WCC) has released more details on its plan to convert 12 of the county’s 39 children’s centres into hubs – with the rest either used as an outreach site, or no longer funded by the council.
The current centres, which offer help and advice to parents and prospective parents, are facing funding cuts of £1.1million to help make up for the £67million cut in WCC’s government funding.
In Stratford district, Alcester children’s centre would be converted into a hub, while centres in Badger Valley, Clopton, Lighthorne Heath, Southam, Stratford, Studley and Wellesbourne could be closed.
In neigbouring Warwick district, Lillington, Sydenham and Westgate children’s centres would be converted into hubs, while centres in Kenilworth, Kingsway, Newburgh, St Johns and Whitnash 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’.
Council chiefs say they will explore opportunities with the community and local providers to continue to offer services at the remaining centres.
Council children’s services spokesman Coun Jeff Morgan said: “I want to be very clear that these proposals are not about stopping services. The proposals are driven by a need to transform services.
“Now is the best time to reconfigure the way we do things to give the right support, for the right issue, at the right time with flexibility to adapt the future. These proposals will ensure that Warwickshire’s offer to all its children is responsive to the needs of today and agile enough to adapt to the challenges of the future.”
The plan has been criticised over fears it could put vulnerable children at risk.
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western said the cuts came at a time when many families were increasingly struggling to get by, making the children’s centres even more important.
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ask to complete the questionnaire, for further information, or to find out more about public meetings which will take place starting on July 20. Email [email protected] or call 01926 742350 to request consultation information in alternative formats.
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/childrenscentres for more information about current arrangements for children’s centres.