CONCERNED parents, carers and council staff have signed an online petition in response to plans to scrap children’s centres across Warwickshire.
At least 12 of the county’s 39 children’s centres could be turned into ‘family hubs’ – with the rest either used as outreach sites, or no longer funded by the council.
Signatories of the petition, which was set up by Warwick mum Kerry Carr, fear the changes will mean a loss of crucial services for young children and their families.
The petition calls on the council to reconsider and revise its plans, ensuring services for babies to two year-olds remain open, and are protected and developed.
The current centres, which offer help and advice to parents and prospective parents, are facing funding cuts of £1.1million to help make up for the £67million cut in WCC’s government funding.
In Warwick district, Lillington, Sydenham and Westgate children’s centres would be converted into hubs, while centres in Kenilworth, Kingsway, Newburgh, St Johns and Whitnash could be closed.
In neighbouring Stratford district, Alcester children’s centre would be converted into a hub, while centres in Badger Valley, Clopton, Lighthorne Heath, Southam, Stratford, Studley and Wellesbourne could be closed.
The hubs will provide children and families with a range of services, while remaining centres will be ‘subject to reassessment, including alternative options and potential closure’.
Council chiefs say they will explore opportunities with the community and local providers to continue to offer services at the remaining centres.
Council children’s services spokesman Coun Jeff Morgan said: “Now is the best time to reconfigure the way we do things to give the right support, for the right issue, at the right time with flexibility to adapt the future.
“These proposals will ensure that Warwickshire’s offer to all its children is responsive to the needs of today and agile enough to adapt to the challenges of the future.”
Visit democratic.warwickshire.gov.uk to sign the petition.