January 4, 2016
Town Councillors were invited to a planning committee meeting to make a collective response to the County Council’s proposal to close Children’s Centres in Oxfordshire. There were also members of the public who came to speak.
Oxfordshire County Council is having funding cut by central government, and so is proposing to close all the children’s centres and set up a more reduced centralised service for only the most vulnerable, and has given 3 options:
1. Eight Family and Resource Centres for the most vulnerable. With some universal services provided by other agencies
2. Eight Family and Resource Centres with limited universal services provided by the county
3. Six centres, with grants to help for other groups to set up universal services.
At the meeting, members of the public had argued that the current universal services were essential, and cutting them was a false economy – intervention cost far more later on. The children’s centres have built trust with families over the years, and that would be lost. Children’s Centres also offer a professional service that cannot be matched by the voluntary sector.
Abingdon has 2 children’s centres: one in a dedicated building in ground next to Caldecott School – built about fifteen years ago when the family centre and community centre at Saxton Road were demolished for housing. The other is in the grounds of Dunmore School.
Councillors discussed the matter. None of them wanted to loose the 2 Abingdon children’s centres because of all the work they do. Some councillors opposed the closures. Others thought the voluntary sector could fill the gap. Others wanted to press the County Council to look for additional funding to try to keep more centres open, including those in Abingdon, and particularly the one in South Abingdon. It was left to the Chair, Deputy Chair, and Town Clerk to bring the different ideas together, and send a reply to the consultation.
If you want to send your own response you have until 10th January
Filed under: politics