Council proposing to offload more than a third of children's centres

Be the first to comment

Durham City Council is proposing to transfer the running of 28 of its children's centres to schools and nurseries.

kelloe-cc-durham

Kelloe Children's Centre in County Durham could be transferred to another provider

The move, which would see the number of children's centres managed by the council reduced from 43 to 15, and schools, nurseries or the community take over their running, is one option being considered by the council to save money and increase service provision.

According to Durham City Council, the majority of its children's centres are based on school sites already.

The council will launch a public consultation on the proposals at the end of the month.

Currently, the city’s children’s centres are grouped into 16 clusters and arranged in five localities. Each of the clusters has a ‘main’ children’s centre.

Durham City Council claims that transferring the running of the centres would make services more accessible to vulnerable families, as well as saving £1m.

According to the council, contact with the most vulnerable families in Durham has historically been limited. Any improvements have been achieved through outreach strategies and use of a broader range of buildings to deliver services.

Another option is for providers currently delivering early years provision from the children’s centres to take over the running of the settings to provide places for disadvantaged two-year-olds.

Cabinet member for children and young people’s services at Durham City Council, councillor Ossie Johnson, said, 'We have made some progress in this important area but we need to do more.

'We won’t let where families live dictate their chances in life, and I believe this approach offers many of the children most in need in our county a better chance of getting the help they require.

'We need our children to be ready and equipped for their school journey and to make the most of the opportunities we can offer.

'A pilot project in Chester-le-Street is already delivering real improvements for families taking part and I believe this shift from buildings to a broader community-based support network will improve many young lives.'