East Sussex County Council’s lead member for children and families has approved a 10-week public consultation on proposals to close 14 children’s centres in a bid to save £2.6 million from the council’s early help services budget.
Under the draft early help strategy, the council would work with partners to identify an alternative provider of pre-school or education services to take over the 14 children’s centres, while retaining 16 centres, including four youth centres.
The 14 children’s centres which face closure are:
- Hampden Park
- Old Town, Eastbourne
- The Bridge, Hastings
- West St Leonards
- Egerton Park, Bexhill
- High Weald, Ticehurst
Alternative providers would also be sought for two council-run nurseries in Bexhill.
Changes proposed by the draft strategy may also require private nurseries currently based within children’s centres in Ticehurst, Crowborough and Seaford to relocate.
Stuart Gallimore, director of children’s services at East Sussex County Council, said, ‘With reductions in Government funding and greater demand for services, it is vital that we use our limited resources in areas where they will do the most for the people of East Sussex, particularly our most vulnerable families.
‘The proposals put forward will help us target our support to more than 2,100 families at risk of crisis each year and 500 vulnerable young people, and continue to offer support to all families of pre-school children.’
Mr Gallimore added, ‘In drawing up these proposals, we have carried out an extensive review of how we deliver our services, but it is important that we hear how these changes will affect East Sussex families before any decision is made.’
- The consultation on the draft early help strategy will run until 29 July 2019 https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/childrens-services/public-early-help-survey/