Bid to save under-threat children's centres unsuccessful - The Leamington Observer

Bid to save under-threat children's centres unsuccessful

Laura Kearns 29th Nov, 2017 Updated: 29th Nov, 2017   0

A LAST-minute bid to save Warwickshire’s under-threat children’s centres has been unsuccessful.

An ‘extraordinary’ meeting was held on Wednesday (November 29) to discuss plans to use £1.5million cash from Warwickshire County Council reserves.

It was a joint proposal by Labour, Lib Dems and the Green Party.

But councillors voted against the plans, which will now see children’s centres axed as part of £1.1milion cost-cutting exercise by the council. The cuts have been made in a bid to save money after the council was faced with a £67milion reduction in government funding.

The Conservative-led cabinet agreed the county’s 39 centres – which will be known as ‘children and family centres’ – would be reduced to just 14, with a number being used as ‘outreach’ bases run by third parties.

The move which was met with fierce opposition, is set to be implemented by October 2019.

Green party coun Jonathan Chilvers, who attended the meeting, says the party wanted to make the centres viable long-term using money from council reserves.

He said: “We do need to keep improving our support for families, but that’s not going to happen if you cut £1m – 20 per cent – from the budget.

“Of course money’s tight but we’ve shown that the cash is there to invest in Warwickshire families in the crucial first two years of child’s life – this is a priority.

“It’s time for the Conservatives to make the right choice on this and put in the money that will bring the best results for years to come.”

Members of the group ‘Save our Children’s Centres’ say they will continue the battle.

Simon O’Hara wrote on the group’s facebook page: “We absolutely must keep on fighting. In the 5th richest economy in the world, it is unforgivable to continue imposing austerity policies on those most in need of support. Anyone who voted against the delay today should hang their heads in shame.”

And Jess Tomlinson said: “Disappointing but we will continue the fight for a brighter future for all of Warwickshire’s children and their families.”



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