Questions remain unanswered over changes to children’s centres in Northamptonshire, says Labour candidate

Sally Keeble, Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Northampton North
Sally Keeble, Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Northampton North

The re-organisation of children’s centres in Northamptonshire should be called in, Labour’s candidate for Northampton North has said.

Sally Keeble, who is campaigning to return to Parliament in next year’s elections, says there should be a “major scrutiny” of the changes, which are due to come into effect in January.

Under the changes, Northamptonshire County Council contracted out the children’s centres to two charities. The reason behind the change, the council said, was to make sure that the services were used by the most disadvantaged children in the county.

The move resulted in the closure of some children’s centres, including three in Northampton.

Mrs Keeble said there remained a number of questions that were unanswered ahead of the changes.

“Three months after these new contracts started, arrangements are only now being put into place.

“The services schedule for the Eastern District show that the three children’s centres there are to be used only for a limited range of activities a week.

“Parents are bring directed to services scattered across town - inlcuding a breastfeeding support group at Royal & Derngate, a playgroup at Boothville, gardening at Brookside and play activities at Eastfield.

“It’s not clear how parents are supposed to get to these venues,” she said.

“These are crucial services that should provide all chidlren with a good start in life, and also identify and safeguard the most vulnerable.

“It is essential that the families and children don’t slip through the net,” she added.