Children's centres to be axed in re-shuffle?

Children's and youth centres could close as part of a shake-up of council services for families.

Friday, 23rd September 2016, 3:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 2:01 pm
One of those facing closure is the Flatts & Eastborough Children's Centre on Westgate, Dewsbury.

Cash-strapped Kirklees Council is proposing to axe some of the centres it currently operates as it tries to make savings.

Under the plans, services for children, young people and their families would be centralised at four hubs, in Dewsbury and Mirfield, Batley and Spen, Huddersfield, and Kirklees Rural.

There would be a designated children’s centres in each of the four locations, and young people’s services would continue to be provided at 13 other council sites around Kirklees.

One of those facing closure is Gomersal & Littletown Childrens Centre on Shirley Avenue, Gomersal

The remaining 19 children’s and youth centres would no longer be used for the services.

Coun Erin Hill, cabinet member for family support and child protection, said: “We realise that this is a difficult area.

“Reshaping a service that is so important to so many families, many of which are vulnerable, is never easy.

“The reality is that the council spends a lot of money on maintaining buildings, and we want to prioritise spending on people instead, focussing on the areas of highest need.

The Batley East childrens centre .

“So it is not just about money, although our budget savings targets are huge.

“It is about how we deliver the best service by the most appropriate people in the right place in the future and putting children first.”

In Batley and Spen, a hub in central Batley would be the main point for people wanting to access services.

Birstall Co Location centre on Fieldhead Crescent would become the area’s designated children’s centre.

One of those facing closure is Gomersal & Littletown Childrens Centre on Shirley Avenue, Gomersal

And the Staincliffe and Healey children’s centre, Carlinghow Children’s Centre, and Young Batley Centre buildings would be used to offer extra support to children and adults in need.

In Dewsbury and Mirfield, a central Dewsbury building would become the main access hub and the designated children’s centre would be on Princess Road in Chickenley.

Dewsbury Arena youth centre, Crows Nest Park Centre, the Greenwood Centre in Ravensthorpe, Thornhill children’s centre in Edge Top Road, and Young Dewsbury youth club buildings would also be used for additional services.

The shake-up is designed to identify problems within vulnerable families, most at need, at an earlier stage to prevent them from becoming more complex issues.

The Batley East childrens centre .

The council hopes this will reduce the overall cost of delivering services as well as lowering demand for high cost social care.

Coun Hill said: “We reviewed the service in 2011 and made changes at that time but we cannot stand still. Kirklees is not unique.

“Councils across the country are looking at the way they support children, young people and families and reducing the number of buildings that they have.

“Our vision is to work across Kirklees with partners and communities to support people to plan ahead, stay well and have support when they need it.

“That could be in a council run building, a community centre, school or someone’s own home.”

Senior councillors considered the proposals at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

They approved the launch of a public consultation, which is due to begin on Tuesday and run until Tuesday, November 22.

A final decision is expected to be made in January.