Council plans to convert seven children's centres into nurseries for twos delivery

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Seven children's centres in Bury could be converted into nurseries for the delivery of disadvantaged two-year-old places, under plans being considered by the council.

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A campaign is fighting the plans

Bury Council in Greater Manchester is consulting on proposals to de-register seven of its 14 children's centres and convert the buildings to offer care for disadvantaged two-year-olds.

The move, if given the go ahead, would help the local authority meet its statutory duty of providing 40 per cent of disadvantaged two-year-olds with a free childcare place, the equivalent of 1,177 places in Bury.

The council said in July that it had a shortfall of 687 two-year-old places across the borough.

The seven children's centres that could be converted into nurseries are: Butterstile, Daisyfield, High Meadow, Moorside, Stepping Stones, Ramsbottom and Toodle Hill.

Two of the centres, Butterstile and Moorside, are currently run by the primary school in which they are based. The others are managed by the local authority.

All but one of the children's centres is based on a primary school site.

The proposals, out for consultation until December, will help the council deliver savings of £820,000. The running of the nurseries would be put out to tender by the council.

Of the seven children's centres, there will be five children's centre 'hubs' and one 'spoke', used to deliver focused support to under-fives and their families. The other children's centre, located inside a library, will close.

Councillor Gill Campbell, cabinet member for children and young people, said, 'Converting seven existing children's centres into provision for two-year-olds means we can meet a huge demand for places, which has outstripped supply over the past two years. These proposals provide an excellent opportunity for schools and other providers to provide additional places in many areas where they are most needed.

'Similarly, by focusing the work of children's centres on five hubs and one "spoke", substantial savings in co-ordination, management and administration of centres can be recycled to support more frontline delivery in the areas of most need in Bury.'

An online petition and campaign group has been launched by parents fighting to keep the children's centres open in their current capacity.

The campaign's Facebook page, 'Save Bury's Children's Centres', has 1,018 likes.

  • Details of the proposals can be found here.
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