18 March 2016

Northamptonshire County Council is today (Friday) launching a consultation into proposed changes to Children’s Centre Services in the county.

The county council needs to save £65million in 2016 to 2017, including a £3million reduction in funding for children’s centres.

Children’s Centre services will still be available across Northamptonshire, but it’s planned that a larger proportion of the funding available for services will be used in areas of greatest need, such as Northampton East and Central, Corby and Wellingborough.

Consultation starts

Following discussions with children’s centre providers, the county council will now hold a six-week consultation on proposals which could see the closure of eight of Northamptonshire’s 50 children’s centres – Wootton, Headlands and Parklands in Northampton, Ronald Tree and Thornton in Kettering, Croyland and Oakway in Wellingborough, and Bugbrooke in south Northamptonshire.

Services at a further nine centres will be transferred to the local library or another community venue, and all areas of the county are likely to see a change in the services available.

County council deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Heather Smith said: “Reduced funding from central government and unprecedented demand for public services means the county council will have to make £65m savings in the coming financial year, including a £3m reduction in children’s centre services.

“We have been consulting on the reduction in the children’s centre services budget since December and this consultation invites comments on how this reduction will affect specific children’s centres.

'Greatest need'

“We’ve worked closely with our providers – Action for Children, Spurgeons and the Corby Children’s Centre Consortium – to come up with these proposals, which will see services continue to be available across Northamptonshire, but a larger proportion of the funding available for services will be used in areas of greatest need, based upon the latest deprivation data.

“A great deal has changed since Children’s Centres were first introduced in Northamptonshire more than a decade ago. They now bring together a range of support including health visiting, childcare, family support and adult learning. We want to make sure that we can continue to provide this support, but we need to do it with less money.

“Furthermore, families can access a wide range of help, support and activities at all 36 libraries across Northamptonshire, making services more accessible for all.”

To take part in the consultation, which closes on 28 April, visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/childrenscentreconsultation.

A final decision will be made at the Cabinet meeting in May.

The proposals

The eight children’s centres proposed for closure are:

  • Wootton in Northampton
  • Headlands in Northampton
  • Parklands in Northampton
  • Ronald Tree in Kettering
  • Thornton in Kettering
  • Croyland in Wellingborough
  • Oakway in Wellingborough
  • Bugbrooke

The nine children’s centres proposed to move to another venue are:

  • Long Buckby – moving to library
  • Woodford Halse – moving to library
  • Meadowside in Kettering – moving to library
  • Rothwell – moving to library
  • Gloucester in Northampton – moving to Far Cotton library
  • Vernon Terrace in Northampton – moving to Central Library
  • Deanshanger – moving to library
  • Towcester – moving to library
  • Camrose in Northampton – moving to the Kings Heath site