A consultation is launched next week on plans to change the way services are delivered from Children’s Centres across Cambridgeshire.
Cambridgeshire County Council currently funds 40 individual Children’s Centres in 14 localities throughout the county.
The proposal is to move instead to a ‘cluster’ based arrangement, whereby each cluster would collectively provide a range of services previously provided by each individual Centre.
Each cluster would have a wider area of reach than the current Centres achieve at the moment. Each would form one larger hub, rather than each building being classed as a separate entity.
The plan is that the hub centres should be in the areas of highest need, and where a high proportion of families can be reached from a single central point.
The consultation – agreed by the County Council’s Cabinet in October – will start on Tuesday 26 November and end on 13 January.
The proposals will result in savings of £1.5m in 2014-15 and will have an impact on service delivery. However the savings will also provide opportunities to create a more fully integrated early years service across a broader partnership.
Closure of Children’s Centres will be avoided if possible. Opening hours will be reduced, but the proposals will enable the buildings to be used more flexibly.
Cllr David Brown, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services said: “The work of Children’s Centres is highly valued and they play an important part in our offer to families. Although the proposed savings will undoubtedly have an impact on what is provided, the changes also create opportunities while still providing essential services to those families most in need. This is an opportunity for us to talk to staff and partner organisations about how we can redesign the service within a reduced budget. I would urge as many people as possible to give us their views.”
Details of the consultation can be found here: http://www.cambridgeshirechildrenscentres.org.uk/