Families consulted on cuts to Burnham and Highbridge Children's Centres (From This is The West Country)
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Families consulted on cuts to Burnham and Highbridge Children's Centres
FAMILIES and young children who benefit from free Children’s Centre services in Sedgemoor may have to pay for some sessions if proposed changes come into effect.
Currently Children’s Centre services are available for free at 151 venues across Somerset, including 41 Children’s Centres, such as Octopus Children's Centre in Burnham, Highbridge Children's Centre and Woolavington Children's Centre.
But Somerset County Council, which is responsible for the service, has begun a public consultation to identify areas where it can cut costs because some centres are underperforming.
The consultation document also says SCC is thinking about running some Children’s Centre services from different venues in local areas, instead of from some Children’s Centre buildings.
But a spokesman for Somerset County Council told the Weekly News: “Somerset County Council wants to make it clear there are no plans in place to close any Children’s Centres in Somerset, but it is our priority to ensure that a greater proportion of our resources goes on front-line delivery, rather than management and buildings.
“We are proposing to continue all the activities our children’s centres provide, but will be looking hard at where potential savings can be made and this may lead to delivering the same services in a different way.”
Suggestions include sharing buildings such as village halls, libraries or GP surgeries to keep costs down and asking families to pay for some services in the form of ‘Stay and Play’ sessions.
The consultation runs until October 28 and a recommendation, based on the results, will be put forward to Cabinet in November. The survey results will be available in December.
Visit www.somersetconsults.org.uk/consult.ti or call 01823-368280.
None of the local children’s centres could comment.
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