Derbyshire County Council has revealed a number of children’s centres will close or be relocated due to budget difficulties…
A total of 29 children’s centres are set to close across Derbyshire after the county council’s cabinet agreed to budget saving measures. Councillors met earlier this week [14 June] after an extensive review into children’s services across the county.
Derbyshire County Council is looking to cut some £4.7m from their children’s centres budget due to funding losses from central government. The county council said it had already seen children’s services funding reduced from £127m to £90, and the figure expects to drop as low as £68m by 2019.
Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Councillor Jim Coyle said: “We don’t want to be in a position where we have to reduce services or close facilities like children’s centres, but today we faced a difficult decision and had to make a very difficult choice.
“Severe budget cuts mean we don’t have the funds we need to run services in the way we have before so have to look at targeting our resources at residents who need it the most.
“Our children’s centres and the staff who run them play an important role in the lives of children, young people and their families but the review showed that reduced budgets meant we had to consider some closures.
“We’re facing unprecedented financial pressures but will continue to work hard to provide the highest possible standard of services for children and young people and join forces with our partner organisations to make the best possible use of our dwindling resources.”
The review examined how to make services such as early education, childcare, parenting, and family support more efficient and effective. Some 1,265 people gave their views on proposals to close the centres.
From this, the council’s cabinet put forward 21 children’s centres in the most deprived parts of Derbyshire to remain open. Among this figure is Alfreton, Birdholme, Bolsover, Cotmanhay, Creswell, Eckington, Fairfield, Gamesley, Glossop, Hadfield, Heanor, Holme Hall, Ironville, Langley Mill, Long Eaton (urban), Matlock, North Wingfield, Old Whittington, Shirebrook, Staveley and Woodville.
A total of 29 centres will close their doors. This includes centres in Arkwright, Bakewell, Belper, Blackwell, Brampton, Brimington, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Chesterfield town centre (Queen’s Park), Clay Cross, Clowne, Coton-in-the-Elms, Crich, Dronfield, Etwall, Harpur Hill, Hasland, Killamarsh, Long Eaton (rural), Newhall, New Mills, Ripley, Sandiacre, Somercotes, South Normanton, Stonebroom, Tupton, West Hallam, Whaley Thorns and Wirksworth.
Charnos Family Support Centre in Ilkeston will be merged with Kirk Hallam Children’s Centre, after the latter relocates. Bolsover, Newhall and Sandicare will seek alternative venues, while everything will be done to continue outreach work in Stonebroom. Services at Belper will close, but the council said it is possible a local voluntary group could take over.
As a result of the closures some 143 full-time equivalent posts in children’s and business services will be lost. Talks are underway with unions to limit job losses among staff.