1,000 signatures reached
To: Leicestershire County Council
Stop the proposed closure of Leicestershire Children's Centres
Stop the proposed closure of Children's Centres in Leicestershire and keep them open, protecting the valuable services they provide and preventing the potential claw-back of £5.8 million in grant funding.
Why is this important?
Under current proposals Leicestershire County Council want to close 24 Children's Centres and one family centre and merge their services with all other family and young people’s services. These would be Supporting Leicestershire Families (SLF) scheme, Early Help Information Support and Assessment (EHISA) and the Youth Offending service (YOS).*
Vulnerable families and children in need will be forced to make extended (and in some cases prohibitively expensive) journeys to the remaining centres. In addition they may feel stigmatised for going to a building that also houses Youth Offending. It will undoubtedly be children of the most vulnerable families who will be the ones least likely to attend the new centres.
In addition to the council's own services many other agencies operate out almost exclusively out of Children' Centres, for example Health Visiting services, Breastfeeding Support, Child Health Events and many volunteer led groups such as Breastfeeding groups, Parent Carer Well-being, Sling (babywearing), Multiple-birth (twins etc) support groups, Childminder groups, singing and music groups. Finally the centres are also well used by the council's own GO LEARN service providing valuable education programs for parents in need. This will shift a sizable financial burden on to the NHS, while other services will often not be able to afford the rent on alternative accommodation and most of the groups will close.
The Children's Centres and other buildings under threat of closure are:
• Cobden, Loughborough,
• Shelthorpe, Loughborough
• Warren Hills in Coalville,
• Hinckley Westfield
• Hinckley West
• The Cove, Melton
• The Edge, Melton
• Braunstone Town
• South Wigston
• Broughton Astley
• Vale of Belvoir
• Market Harborough Young People's Centre
Finally the council's own report, Early Help Review, details the risk of Capital Clawback under this proposal, meaning that the council may have to pay back up to £5.8 Million in previously awarded grant money if the closed centres are not used as per the wording of the grant award.
Children's Centres (formerly known as Surestart Centres) have transformed the lives of young children and their parents across Leicestershire. The important role that children’s centres play in providing effective multi-agency working is widely recognised both locally and nationally. Children's Centres are a lifeline to these families and others, providing support and services to those in need.
We cannot allow these services to be cut from the lives of the most vulnerable and we must defend the jobs of the people who have dedicated their careers to assisting our most vulnerable young children.
*The consultation details can be found here https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/earlyhelp
please read the report and complete the on line survey.
You can also email the consultation with any additional information that you couldn't get in the survey.
Email - [email protected]
or you can give your views over the telephone on 0116 305 3416
The consultation closes at midnight on Sunday 22nd April.