Under the proposals, six Sure Start centres will become 'hubs' (News, 13 January). These centres will have their funding cut from £455,000 to £336,000 a year. Ten other children's centres, which will be up to a mile away from a hub, will become 'spoke' centres and will have their funding cut to just £19,000 a year. The spoke centres will not provide full outreach services or support for children with special needs or disabilities.
The council plans to open an additional children's centre to be based in a local library.
The consultation document says, 'We would concentrate resources in order to continue to fund full service provision at six hub children's centres. The six would, between them, serve the whole borough and need to reconfigure their offer to target families with higher levels of need.'
Hammersmith and Fulham council plans to spend more money on its family support scheme, which received £932,000 last year but has been allocated a proposed budget of £4,244,000 for the next financial year. The family support scheme is to widen its focus from supporting families with children under 12 to supporting those with children aged up to 19.
The plans to cut the children's centre budget from £4m to £2.2m were first revealed in January. They mean around 50 jobs will be lost.
In response to the proposals, Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith, wrote in his blog, 'Cynically, the paper describes the unfunded centres as "spokes", which will receive token payments of just £19,000 next year. This represents a cut of over 95 per cent to some centres and is clearly insufficient to fund even part of their current services. Both Cameron and Clegg made bold promises to defend Sure Start, praising it for promoting social mobility. This is disingenuous, as cuts to local government funding will be passed on to Sure Start by many councils.'
A full council meeting on 23 February will vote on budgets.