SEVEN Children’s Centres in Stratford-on-Avon could close as part of a cost-cutting exercise.
Warwickshire County Council is planning to turn Alcester’s Children’s Centre into a Family Hub.
But other centres in Shipston-on-Stour, two in Stratford town, Lighthorne Heath, Wellesbourne, Southam, and Studley will be reassessed with some used a satellite sites for the Alcester hub and others closing altogether.
All of the children’s centres in Stratford District are run by a charity called The Parenting Project. Four were rated as ‘inadequate’ in 2015.
The council needs to cut £10million from its spending on support services for children and families and is reviewing the way it provides those services.
There are 39 children’s centres in Warwickshire, which operate in groups to offer a mix of services at location. They bring together child and family health services, parenting programmes, family support and links to training and employment advice, all under one roof.
Proposals have been drawn up to convert 12 into new family hubs from where a range of services will be provided.
The family hubs would be spread throughout the county where there is the greatest identified need for family support: one in North Warwickshire, four Nuneaton and Bedworth, two in Rugby, and three in Warwick district.
Cllr Jeff Morgan, Warwickshire County Council portfolio holder for children’s services, said: “I want to be very clear that these proposals are not about stopping services. The proposals are driven by a need to transform services. They are about Warwickshire changing the way it does things, working more closely with communities and protecting those who are in greatest need of support.
“Now is the best time to reconfigure the way we do things to give the right support, for the right issue, at the right time with flexibility to adapt the future. These proposals will ensure that Warwickshire’s offer to all its children is responsive to the needs of today and agile enough to adapt to the challenges of the future.”
In January 2015 four of Stratford’s children’s centres were rated as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.
The centres singled out for criticism were in Drayton Avenue and Clopton Road, in Stratford, St Faith’s Road in Alcester and High Street, Studley.
They have been run under the South West Warwickshire Children Centres Group banner by the Parenting Project since August 2014.
A public consultation on the changes will run until Thursday, 20th July, with public meetings to be held on dates to be confirmed.
To complete the questionnaire online see www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ask