Childrens’ centres under threat of closure

From The Argus and Brighton and Hove City Council. –

Four children’s centres are under threat of closure as Brighton and Hove City Council launches a consultation on plans to merge services and cut 12 main sites to eight.

The budget of £2,471,000 could slip to £1,692,000 in 2015 to 2016.

Children’s centres Hollingbury and Patcham, in County Oak Avenue, City View, in Elm Grove, Cornerstone, in Church Road, and West Hove, in Portland Road, could all close.

Centre staff jobs are also under threat and volunteer funding could be cut as part of the plans.

The council is proposing to merge Cornerstone and City View with Tarner children’s centre, in Ivory Place, combine Hollingbury and Patcham with the Hollingdean centre in Brentwood Road, and West Hove would have to join with Conway Court in Clarendon Road if the plan is adopted.

Advice groups could merge, while baby and toddler groups and the time families “without additional needs” can attend could be limited and booking systems introduced.

Parents with babies would have to attend an eight-week course instead of regular groups.

Groups in Moulsecoomb, Whitehawk, Coldean, Woodingdean and Rottingdean libraries and the Meadowview Community Centre would be stopped.

Funding for childcare places at playgroups and nurseries would be reduced, home visits cut back and parents told to attend centres for support instead.

Subsidies for nursery open hours, staffing and running costs could also come under threat early next year.

The council’s consultation report said: “Some families will need to travel further. We will continue to offer home visits to parents who need it most.”

The council’s budget

The budget over the next five years will be challenging:

  • Costs will increase due to inflation, population change and rising demand for services.
  • Funding from central government will be severely reduced.

This will result in a funding gap of £100 million in five years’ time.

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A final decision will be made in a meeting on February 26.

To submit your views and read the report click here.

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