Tuesday 16 August 2022
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Nottingham

Nottingham City Council names the children’s centres it is proposing to close

Nottingham City Council has named the five children’s centres it is proposing to close as part of plans to save £28m this year.

 

Concerns have been raised by community leaders that the cuts are in some of the most deprived areas of the city and will cause major problems for families and children in future.

The centres provide a range of services including midwifery, antenatal and post-natal clinics as well as early help for vulnerable parents including those who have children with disabilities.

The council says eight of the 17 children’s centres in Nottingham are operated by schools, which are not affected by the proposals.

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The council is looking for new organisations, schools, or community groups to deliver services in children’s centres, including those earmarked for closure.

The centres proposed for closure, unless another provider can be found, are Aspley (Amesbury Circus), Aspley (Minver Crescent), Bilborough, Bulwell and Sneinton.

The council says a reduction in Government funding, the unmet costs of Covid spending, and the increased demand and cost of child and adult social care have led to the decision.

The centres proposed to remain open are Broxtowe, Hyson Green, The Meadows and Southglade (Bestwood/Top Valley).

These centres will offer “the greatest level of  service provision with a focus on areas of high need” and will ensure  “a high level of the city population can access a centre within 30 minutes via public transport”.

The proposals would introduce a new citywide early help offer through support out in the community, including face-to-face sessions delivered both within the remaining children’s centres and also in venues across the city.

Cllr Cheryl Barnard (Lab), portfolio holder for children and young people, said: “This is an incredibly difficult proposal to put forward – we know how important the services are to people who attend children’s centres, which is why we are aiming to protect as much of the service provision as possible.

“We remain strongly committed to supporting families at the earliest opportunity and we will work with partners and communities across Nottingham to do this.

“The proposals ensure that 86 per cent of likely service users are within 30 minutes of a centre by public transport or 43 per cent are within 20 minutes’ walk of a centre.

“We have received positive feedback from providers and schools about their willingness to take on and run some of the centres proposed for closure.

“We are keen to talk to any partner organisations that would like to run a children’s centre in our place – or to take on centres that we propose to retain, as this would enable us to keep a different centre open.

“It’s important to remember that these plans remain proposals and not decisions. We want to hear from parents, carers and providers affected by the proposals – things are not set in stone and could change as a result of feedback.”

A second consultation on the proposals will run until 22 April.

Speaking in November, Project manager of The Chayah Project in St Ann’s, Hyacinth Francis-Watson, says her charity works with the children’s centres in Sneinton and Bilborough.

She said: ““There will be more dysfunctional families, more crime, and social care will have to step up. Where will these parents go when they are in need? Where is their safe place? The people who use the centres are the most deprived.”

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