Children's centres under threat across the country

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Children’s centres in a number of local authorities are being faced with closure and cuts to their services as councils see their budgets slashed.

butterflies-ccnew

Butterflies Children's Centre is one of seven centres closing in Swindon

In Swindon, the council has confirmed it is to close seven of its 12 centres in April 2015.

The following centres will be de-commissioned - Eldene, Croft, Butterflies (pictured), Ladybird, Saltway, Robert le Kyng and West Swindon.

They will be replaced by ‘multi-generational family centres’ in Swindon town centre and West Swindon, which will be free of Ofsted control.

The five children’s centres managed by 4Children will continue to operate as normal. The charity took over the running of the centres in May.

In Manchester, Trafford council is proposing to cease running four of its children’s centres in Old Trafford, Sale, Altrincham and Urmston.

Under the proposals, outlined in its  consultation, Trafford Council is considering leasing or transferring the buildings to the voluntary and community sector or local groups.

If this is not possible, the council says the centres will close and the buildings will be disposed of. This would leave just two children’s centres in Trafford.

It follows the move by Trafford Council last year to reduce the number of its children’s centres from 16 to six.

Derbyshire County Council is also considering closing some of its ten children’s centres or reducing their opening hours in a bid to save £157m by 2018.

Within its consultation, which closes on 21 January, it sets out a number of options including closing two children’s centres or transferring their services to other sites, relocating one centre to another site or reducing the opening hours and services of all centres.

In Suffolk, the council is expected to make a decision about the future of its 48 children’s centres next month.

It follows a public consultation in which Suffolk County Council outlined plans to merge ten of its children’s centres from 2015.

Within the council’s consultation, its cabinet member for children’s services, councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council says, ‘Children’s centres are an essential part of delivering early support to children, young people and their families in Suffolk.

‘We are committed to continuing to deliver high-quality, effective children’s centre services to families across the country. To achieve this we have to make sure that services are delivered in ways different communities want to access them and that we make the best use of buildings we have across the country.’

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