Have your say: Children’s Centres

The County Council is today seeking people’s views on proposals for a number of Children’s Centres.

Parents, families and other people with an interest are invited to discuss proposals that would see the help and support provided at eleven centres at least maintained. They are also being asked to give their views of what type of extra services families and the community may benefit from. These eleven are among 18 centres initially highlighted for change.

Meetings are taking place at the following eight centres in the week beginning 24 February, where people can ask questions and get more information: Street, The Octopus (Burnham-on-Sea), Woolavington, Eastover (Bridgwater), The Levels (Langport), Jigsaw (Barwick & Stoford), Nether Stowey and Dulverton.

There will be further meetings at the beginning of March at Wells, Ashlands and Fledglings (Taunton).

For each of these centres, the proposals mean no significant change to the help and support available to parents and families. Current services would continue to be available in the same buildings, though the centres would de-designated*. The meetings will be a chance to suggest extra services either in the Children’s Centres or delivered elsewhere in the community as the Council improves it Early Help offer for children and families.

Cllr Frances Nicholson said: “In November I said people would have a further chance to have their say before any decisions are made about the individual centres and this is now under way. The proposals for the centres will mean people will continue to get at least the same support they get now from the same buildings; if anything that support will be increased.

“I hope these meetings lay to rest any concerns that people may have had locally about the services that they, like the Council, value so highly.”

Proposals for the remaining seven centres will become clearer over the next couple of weeks – but please note there will be no proposals to close Children’s Centres. Services will continue to be provided in the communities where they are found now, through the current Children’s centre building and other suitable venues.

There will be appropriate opportunities for people to comment on these proposals, which in some cases may involve consultation. Any necessary consultations will begin in March and details will be publicised.

Further information:

  • *Designation and de-designation: Being designated as a Sure Start Children’s Centre means each centre has to keep detailed records of activities and services and is inspected on its catchment area. If de-designated, a centre no longer has to provide these detailed records or detailed improvement plans for individual centres. It also means that a centre is no longer constrained to only providing services to people in its catchment area – it can more flexible to meet needs wherever they may be. The services provided by the centre are still inspected by Ofsted but as part of a part of a wider area inspection.
  • 18 centres were indentified for de-designation in initial proposals put forward last November. The Cabinet Member promised further consultation before decisions were made about these and the service has been in discussions with relevant groups, including schools, to look at how services could be provided in those communities in the future.
  • The dates and times of the Have You Say meetings are as follows:

 

Children’s Centre

Date and time

Date and time

Venue

Eastover (Bridgwater)

24 February

10am-11.30am

25 February

6pm-7.30pm

Children’s Centre

Jigsaw (Yeovil)

24th February

6pm-7.30pm

26th February

9.30am-11am

Children’s Centre

Woolavington

24th February

6pm-7.30pm

28th February

1.30pm-3pm

Woolavington Pavilion

The Levels (Langport)

25th February

3.30am-5pm

27th February

6pm-7.30pm

Children’s Centre

Street

25th February

1.30-3pm

27th February

6pm-7.30pm

The Beech Hut (Street Children’s Centre)

Dulverton

25th February

6pm-7.30pm

28th February

10am-11.30am

All Saints Primary School

Nether Stowey

26th February

9.30am-11am

28th February

6pm-7.30pm

Children’s Centre

The Octopus (Burnham-on-Sea)

26th February

6pm-7.30pm

28th February

9.30am-11am

Children’s Centre