Peterborough: Plans To Close Council-Run Child Centres Recommended

Controversial plans to cut the number of council-run Children's Centres in Peterborough have been agreed by the authority's cabinet.

The move, designed to save £1.2 million, has been recommended for final approval at a full Peterborough City Council Meeting in March. 

The Council stresses professional services for families with young kids, run by other organisations, will continue in centres earmarked for closure.

The City Council has also announced that a £100,000 fund will be established to support families affected by the decision.

This includes paying for support groups, community parent and baby sessions and help with post-natal depression.

There were reportedly tears from parents when the move was announced.

Angela Brennan, one of the founders of Save the Peterborough Children's Centres Campaign said: "The battle isn't over, it's just beginning."

Under the plans, four of the current 15 children's centres will be turned into "super centre hubs".

These would be at the Orton’s Children’s Centre, Paston Honeyhill Centre, the East Children’s Centre and the First Steps Children’s Centre.

Three outreach centre services will also be set up, at Bretton’s Children Centre, Fulbridge Children’s Centre and Gladstone Children’s Centre.

The remaining eight centres would be handed over to other professional organisations, such as schools or child care providers.

Councillor Sheila Scott, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: "Parents have told us they wanted the centres to continue as they are but unfortunately doing nothing is not an option. 

In these very difficult times, when we have faced a £19 million gap in our budget, we have had to make some very difficult decisions about future services.

However, we have listened to parents’ concerns and hope the £100,000 package of measures we are putting forward will go some way to allay some of their fears and also ensure that parents continue to get support in the communities in which they live. 

The children's centre hubs and outreach centres will continue to support parents in the most deprived areas of the city to ensure those families in the greatest need can access them."

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