Consultation on planned children's centre changes

Consultation on planned children's centre changes
18 April 2017

FAMILIES who use SureStart children’s centres in Darlington are being invited to have their say on proposed changes to the way the services are offered.

The principle of changing the operating model for children’s centres was agreed last year by members of Darlington Borough Council as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan.

A ‘hub and spoke’ model was proposed, which would have seen the service reduced to one centralised children’s centre with outreach services in other locations.

Officers have developed a model which would see McNay Street Children’s Centre designated as the main hub, with other centres at Mount Pleasant, Skerne Park and Dodmire stay open as delivery points. It is proposed that Haughton Children’s Centre will be closed.

A full range of services will be offered at McNay Street, with other centres having a reduction in services based on local needs.

At a meeting earlier this month, cabinet members gave approval for the proposals to go out to consultation. The consultation, which is aimed at both current and potential future users, begins today (Tuesday 18 April) and runs until the end of May.

The public can find out more about the proposals and give your views in a number of ways:

  • Speaking to a member of staff at their local children’s centre
  • Visiting any children’s centre Facebook page.

A series of public forums will be held at the centres, when current and potential future centre users can find out more about the proposals and give their views.

Councillor Cyndi Hughes, cabinet member for Children and Young People, said: “Everyone knows that the council is facing financial challenges. This means that we have had to look at different ways of ensuring that our children’s centres continue to deliver on a range of priorities, including reducing child poverty and providing early help and support to families.

“We want to know what everyone – parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles – thinks about our proposals to make children’s centres more flexible, effective and efficient.”

Once the consultation period has concluded, the responses will be analysed, before a report containing recommendations on the future of the service is presented to Cabinet.

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