Press Release Ref : 4469
Press Release - Wed, 07 Dec 2011

All change for Croydon children's centres

Children's centres across Croydon could face significant changes depending on the outcome of a consultation exercise that is likely to be agreed at next week's council cabinet meeting.

Parents will be given the opportunity to feed into the wide-ranging proposals, and the council has confirmed that it is committed to listening to opinions and acting on them where practical.

The council currently operates 26 children's centres across the borough to support the families of Croydon's 27,000 under-fives.

These centres focus on getting children ready for school, improving parenting skills and promoting health and life chances.

The current cost of this service is £4.6million; however the budget that has been set needs to see this figure reduced to £3.5million - in line with overall reductions in council funding.

A range of options are set to be consulted on. This could see the same number of centres run in a new way, possibly with more input from parents themselves or through merging of centres so that staff operate across a wider area.

It could also see some centres close so that more focus can be given to those areas where need is found to be the greatest.

The option of maintaining the status quo will also be tabled, but it is emphasised that this model is not sustainable in the light of financial spending restrictions.

A fourth option is presented as a completely open-ended alternative which could be based on any suggestions that arise from the consultation.

Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, young people and learners, said: "These centres offer an important service to the families of young children in the borough. However in these challenging financial times we have to ensure that our resources are focused on those people who most need our help and support."

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