Plans to close 17 children’s centre buildings across Northamptonshire by moving some to libraries and shutting some others altogether are now being put to the public.
The county council needs to save £65 million in 2016/17, including a £3 million reduction in funding for children’s centres.
To achieve this, is says it will prioritise spending in areas of “greatest need,” such as Northampton East and Central, Corby and Wellingborough.
But it means that eight of the county’s 50 centres have been earmaked for closure altogether and a further nine centres will be “transferred” over to libraries or nearby community venues.
The moves go out to public consultation this week.
County council deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Heather Smith said:
“We have been consulting on the reduction in the children’s centre services budget since December and this consultation invites comments on how this reduction will affect specific children’s centres.
“We’ve worked closely with our providers – Action for Children, Spurgeons and the Corby Children’s Centre Consortium – to come up with these proposals, which will see services continue to be available across Northamptonshire, but a larger proportion of the funding available for services will be used in areas of greatest need, based upon the latest deprivation data.”
A final decision on which centre will close will be made at the council’s cabinet meeting in May.
The eight children’s centres proposed for closure are: Wootton, Headlands and Parklands in Northampton, Ronald Tree and Thornton in Kettering, Croyland and Oakway in Wellingborough, and Bugbrooke in south Northamptonshire.
Councillor Smith added: “A great deal has changed since children’s centres were first introduced in Northamptonshire more than a decade ago. They now bring together a range of support including health visiting, childcare, family support and adult learning. We want to make sure that we can continue to provide this support, but we need to do it with less money.
“Furthermore, families can access a wide range of help, support and activities at all 36 libraries across Northamptonshire, making services more accessible for all.”
To take part in the consultation, which closes on April 28th, visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/childrenscentreconsultation.
The nine children’s centres proposed to move to another venue are:
Long Buckby – moving to village library
Woodford Halse – moving to village library
Meadowside in Kettering – moving to library
Rothwell – moving to library
Gloucester Children’s Centre in Northampton – moving to Far Cotton library
Vernon Terrace in Northampton – moving to Central Library
Deanshanger – moving to library
Towcester – moving to library
Camrose in Northampton – moving to the Kings Heath site