Have your say on children’s centre cuts

PARENTS can have their say on Kirklees Council's plan to axe 11 Children's Centres in the district. 

The proposed cuts come as part of the council's aim to save £10 million from its budget after huge cuts from central government.

Eleven of the council's 32 centres will be closed, with more services centralised and the buildings either sold off or transferred to other services within the council.

Included in the centres at risk across Kirklees are: Batley East Children's Centre, Gomersal and Littletown Children's Centre, Howard Park School Children's Centre, Flatts and Eastborough, Mirfield Children's Centre, The Centre at Pentlands School, Heckmondwike Children's Centre, Dewsbury Moor Children's Centre and Thornhill Lees Community and Children's Centre.

Councillor Erin Hill, cabinet member for family support and child protection said the shake-up was part of the council's plan to ensure services were kept viable.

She said: "Support for children, young people and families is a council priority and we are totally committed to making sure all of our services remain available to those who need them the most - no matter what age.

"However, in future this will have to be done differently and there will be a change to what is delivered in our communities.

"It isn't just about financial savings, it's about improving the way we work, supporting local people and the positive difference that can be made when we all work together.

"It's very important to note that we will always help children and families who need extra support, for example where there are child protection concerns - this is top of our priority list."

The Children's Centres, known officially as Early Help Centres, provide help and support for expectant mothers and mothers 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 the location of these have not yet been decided.

These would provide information on the 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 locations to 21.

A formal consultation is now open for members of the public to have their say on the proposals.

This can be done online or at special kiosks set up at Dewsbury Town Hall and Cleckheaton Town Hall for the next four weeks, before they are moved to other locations at the end of this month.

A series of drop-in sessions will be held in which the plans can be discussed. Details are given below.

Batley and Spenborough: October 10, 1.30-2.30pm Cleckheaton Children's Centre, St Peg Lane.

October 18, 4-5pm Young Batley Centre, Thomas Street.

November 8, 1.30-2.30pm Birstall and Birkenshaw Children's Centre, Fieldhead Crescent, Birstall.

November 18, 10-11am Carlinghow and Wilton Children's Centre, Ealand Road.

Dewsbury and Mirfield: November 1, 11am–noon: Dewsbury Moor and Scout Hill Children’s Centre, Heckmondwike Road, Dewsbury.

November 16, 10–11am: Chickenley and Earlsheaton Children’s Centre, Princess Road, Chickenley.

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