Still time to have your say

There are four weeks to go for people to give their views on proposed changes to the way support for Somerset families is provided.

The County Council’s ten-week consultation on the proposals, which include a changing role for Sure Start Children’s Centres, ends on the 1 of December. More than 300 people have already given their views and the authority is keen that many more do the same.

An extra consultation drop-in event has been scheduled. This will take place in Frome on Wednesday, 22 November – 10.30am to 12.30pm in the Key Children’s Centre on Feltham Lane (BA11 5AJ), and 1pm-6.30pm in Frome Library on Justice Lane (BA11 1 BE).

The Family Support Service proposals aim to make support as accessible as possible for those who need it most, with more support offered through community venues, in people’s homes and online. They would also fully join-up the County Council’s getset service (which includes Children’s Centre support for 0 to 4-year-olds and support for families with children aged 0 to 19) with the support offered by Health Visitors and School Nurses.

The proposals would not see any reduction in nursery provision.

Councillor Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member from Children and Families, said: “A good number of people have responded through the consultation, but I know there will be many more with an interest who haven’t yet done so.

“It’s important that we hear from as many people as possible before any decisions are made and I would urge everyone with a view to share it with us before the end of the consultation.

“These proposals are about getting support to the people who need it most as quickly as possible and would have no impact on the nurseries that are an integral part of the some of the centres at the moment.”

Four drop-in information and discussions sessions have already been held, with a session in Glastonbury still to go – as well as the Frome event.

  • Thurs, 16 Nov, 10.30am – 6.30pm Large Conference Room, Glastonbury Hub, Orchard Court, The Archers Way, Glastonbury, BA6 9JB.

Details of the proposals, further information and a questionnaire to can be found online and in children’s centres. Drop-in sessions have also been organised for people to find out more and give their views.

Under the proposals, there would be a move from the current arrangement of 24 Sure Start Children’s Centres to a network of eight Family Centres serving the whole county and located in the areas of highest need and demand.

These eight centres would act as main ‘hubs’ for services and coordinate the work in the surroundings area. The other 16 buildings that currently have Sure Start Children’s Centre status would continue to offer early childhood services including education and nursery places to help meet the demand for spaces.