Don't miss a story sign up to Sidmouth Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Parents urged to input on children’s centre closures

PUBLISHED: 13:00 07 May 2014

(c) Stockbyte

Mums and dads in Sidmouth are being urged to have their say as budget cuts threaten the closure of children’s centres across the county.

Devon County Council (DCC) is consulting on how to make savings as its funding from Government is slashed by £110million over the next three years.

Bosses want to focus on those in greatest need and spend their remaining budget on service provision rather than administration or buildings – leaving the future of many centres uncertain.

Peter Sullivan, the former manager of Stowford Community Centre, which houses Sidmouth’s Children’s Centre, said: “DCC is again looking at making cuts that affect the most vulnerable in the community – there must be other things they could cut.

“To take the service away from main towns will have a detrimental effect.”

He fears there could just be one centre for the whole of East Devon – but said the information available is too vague to know DCC’s intentions.

DCC’s children’s centre budget has fallen 15 per cent to £8.6million over the last five years, and is being squeezed by another £1.2million over the next three years.

It currently has 34 centres across the county but is no longer required to have a set number.

DCC is assessing need based on ‘indices of deprivation’ – so while Sidmouth may be relatively well off, it has not been identified as being in greatest need of support.

It is seeking community groups to take over the provision, and asking schools and pre-schools to consider expanding to accommodate ‘much-needed’ spaces for vulnerable two-year-olds.

Newton Poppleford resident Carly Ireland, who uses both Sidmouth and Ottery’s at-risk children’s centres, said: “My toddler’s two and a half now, we’ve been going since he was seven weeks old – and I can’t emphasise enough how important it’s been.

“I think my experience of motherhood would have been quite different if I hadn’t had classes available. There’s not really any other mechanism for meeting other young mums. It’s really essential.”

Councillor James McInnes, DCC’s cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “We remain fully committed to delivering high quality, multi-agency services for children under five, and particularly to those families in greatest need. But we have to think again about the best way to provide this support to families for less money.

“This review offers a genuine opportunity not only to protect children’s centres into the future but also to redesign current services to better meet local needs across the county, including in rural areas.” The consultation ends on June 6. To contribute, visit new.devon.gov.uk/childrenscentrereview.

Other News Stories

Supporters of a legacy charity have appealed to Sidmouth’s business community to help get the fund ‘off the ground’.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:00

Don’t miss this week’s gallery of readers’ photos.

Join in at iwitness24.co.uk and send us your East Devon pictures.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:30

A centenarian from Sidmouth has become the star of a short documentary sharing her memories of growing up in the First World War.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:52

The East Devon Daytime Band has hit all the right notes to raise £100 for Devon Air Ambulance Trust.

Read more
Fri, 18:00

A project seeking to place up to 57 new blue plaques in Sidmouth is seeking support from owners of interesting buildings.

Read more
Fri, 15:09

A short film telling the story Sidmouth’s last fishing family’s ‘passion, loss and resilience’ got regional exposure on BBC One and is still available online.

Read more
Fri, 13:43

Emergency services were called to a crash near Ottery St Mary today (Friday).

Read more
Fri, 12:30

Council bosses will soon write to Sidmouth residents and businesses to ask if they will help to fundraise the £3.3million needed to pay for much-needed sea defences.

Read more
Fri, 12:11

Our Devon quiz is back for another round!

Read more
Fri, 11:33

Firefighters from Ottery St Mary were on scene for nearly an hour after a vehicle caught fire on the B3180.

Read more

Local Weather

Rain

Rain

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 6°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications