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

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


Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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


Ethan, 16, a former student at The King’s School, Ottery St Mary, is named South West champion

Read more
Yesterday, 19:30

Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club celebrated the achievements of its members and volunteers at an awards ceremony.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:02

Questions raised over case for cutting community hospital beds

Read more
Yesterday, 16:00

The clock is ticking for residents who want to have their say on a new pattern of council wards for East Devon District Council.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:38

EDDC countryside rangers organise activities for hundreds of pupils.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:02

Police warn trespassers to stay out of ‘dangerous’ site for their own safety

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00

The Rotary Club of Exeter Enterprise is holding a polio lunch in Topsham on Sunday, November 20, starting at 12.30pm for 1pm.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30

Sidmouth’s overwhelming opposition to proposals for relaxed street trading laws could see the town excluded from East Devon-wide changes.

Read more
Mon, 19:30

Runners completed a gruelling 16-mile race, with over 1km of vertical ascent, between Sidmouth and Beer.

Read more
Mon, 16:35

A pair of classic motorbikes will be on the starting line of an auction being held in Sidmouth next month.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

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

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists

Find planning applications