STUDLEY could retain a degree of children’s services in the village after the local infants school issued ‘an expression of interest’ in taking over the running of the building.
The Studley centre, which has more than 500 children registered with it, is earmarked for closure under plans by Warwickshire County Council, part of a controversial programme to introduce a new way of working and save £1.12million off its budget.
Instead a ‘hub’ in Alcester will act as a base for out reach workers, although this would inevitably impact on group activities for the children.
Such a hub will be a ‘family centre’ dealing with youngsters up to age of 19 and to 25 for clients with special education needs.
However County Councillor Jeff Morgan (Con, Bulkington & Whitestone) portfolio holder for children services, told Studley Parish Council of the approach by the infants school.
“This is with a view of them taking over the management of the centre, partly for their own use but also to run existing childrens services for 0-5 year olds but also beyond that age, which is the crucial thing,” he said.
Bill Basra, a key officer in the re-design of the county’sd childrens services, added: “We are looking at how this can work for the local community and I think things look quite promising for Studley.”
Speaking after the meeting District Councillor Justin Kerridge (Con, Studley North & Mappleborough Green) said: “I thought we were going to hear an excuse from them and why we were going to get a complete shut down, but I was blown away by how positive they were.”
However County Councillor Clive Rickhards (Lib Dem, Studley) warned: “While I welcome outreach workers having a base in Studley, nevertheless it will not be able to provide the same level of service as before.
“So much relates to people meeting in a location and carrying out group participation and it is pointless to pretend this is going to be an improvement on what we had before.”