Nine children’s centres at risk

KIRKLEES Council has revealed the children’s centres under threat from funding cuts.

The nine centres in North Kirklees at risk are: Batley East, Gomersal & Littletown, Howard Park School, Flatts & Eastbor-ough, Mirfield, Pentlands School, Heckmondwike, Dewsbury Moor and Thornhill Lees.

The council needs to save around £10m and is considering cutting around a third of its centres.

Of the 32 centres across Kirklees, 19 are at risk, with the council looking to close around 11 of those and either sell off the buildings or transfer them to other council uses.

Redundancies are likely at those centres that are closed.

The centres – known officially as Early Help Centres – provide help and support for expectant mothers and mums with babies, toddlers, children and teenagers, as well as young adults with complex disabilities.

Under the proposals, four central early help ‘hubs’ would be created but locations have not been decided. They would provide information on early help services.

There would also be four designated children’s centres where people will be able to access services.

Another 13 exisiting centres will remain, taking the total number of locations to 21.

Council officials say the plan is designed to help children and young people at an early stage before their problems deepen and require more interventions.

Coun Viv Kendrick, cabinet member for adults, health and activity, said: “Some of the at-risk centres will be kept and used to deliver services.

“The location of some other sites have not been decided and we may introduce mobile services which can pop up in various places to address demand.

“We may also consider using community venues that are already well-used.

“If a building is deemed unsuitable to continue to provide an early years service, we will then consider if it can be used for an alternative use.

“If it can’t and is a drain on council resources, it would make sense to me to sell it.”

A consultation period will be open until November 22 for members of the public to have their say, with the results presented to the cabinet on January 17.

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