PARENTS and families can air their concerns about the future of children’s centres in Somerset at a series of public meetings.
The county council will be talking through its proposals at eight centres next week, including The Levels in Langport and Dulverton Children’s Centre.
There will be further meetings at the beginning of March for families who use three other centres, including Fledglings in Taunton.
The rest of the 18 centres set to be stripped of their children’s centre title, or ‘de-designated’, which include Bishops Lydeard, Wiveliscombe and The Villages in Creech St Michael, will have public meetings later next month as the council is still negotiating where services currently run at the centres could be held.
Cllr Frances Nicholson said: “In November I said people would have a further chance to have their say before any decisions are made about the individual centres, and this is now underway.
“The proposals for the centres will mean people will continue to get at least the same support they get now from the same buildings – if anything that support will be increased.
“I hope these meetings lay to rest any concerns that people may have had locally about the services that they, like the council, value so highly.”
Public meetings will be held on Tuesday, February 25, at The Levels in Langport from 3.30pm to 5pm or Thursday, February 27, from 6pm to 7.30pm.
In Dulverton, the meeting will take place in All Saints Primary School on Tuesday, February 25, from 6pm to 7.30pm, or Friday, February 28, from 10am to 11.30am.
Families at Fledglings in Taunton can meet on Monday, March 3, from 6pm to 7.30pm or Wednes-day, March 5, from 2pm to 3.30pm.
The meetings will be a chance to suggest extra services in buildings where children’s centres currently run or other places in the community as the council looks to improve its early help offer for children and families.
Peter Lewis, interim director of children's services, said: “I don’t know if we’ve made the best possible job of the communication, but these meetings will give a clear and simple message that we’re not closing children’s centres.
“We want to make sure services are fit for purpose and the best value for money.”