Parents urged to input on children’s centre closures

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.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sidmouth Herald visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sidmouth Herald staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sidmouth Herald account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

Saturday, January 24, 2015
Mike Rock of Dream-A-Way (white shirt) with mascot Jude Barrett,Matthew Barrett,Russell Bellairs,Nick Baker,Mark Denning and Stephen Parry.
Ref shs 1039-04-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

A team of five fundraisers will have just 10 wheels between them when they ride the length of the country in just a week for a new charity-boosting Sidmouth group.

Read more
Friday, January 23, 2015
Ref shs 1166 Gas canister. Picture: Steve Sumner

The bomb squad was called to Sidmouth beach for the second time in little more than a week on Wednesday afternoon due to an object that ‘could have been mistaken for a torpedo’.

Read more
Friday, January 23, 2015
2014's Ottery Scouts annual jumble sale

Bargain hunters are invited enjoy some retail therapy in Ottery next week as the town’s scouts host their annual jumble sale.

Read more
Friday, January 23, 2015
Photo by Tony Green

A warning has been issued that ‘people need to take responsibility for their own safety’ as yet more beachgoers put their lives at risk on Sidmouth’s dangerous east beach.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 2°C

Most Read News

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition

Devon's trusted business finder