THE future of children’s centres in the town is still in doubt as seven bases are revealed as under threat from council changes.
A shake-up of the centres in Warrington will help to reduce council spending by up to £300,000 as the council deals with tighter budgets, new plans have revealed.
But some centres could see a jump in visitors as a result of the proposed changes while others would lose their title as an official children’s centre.
In June, the Warrington Guardian revealed that half of the 12 children’s centres in the town faced a major overhaul.
But the council has actually identified seven children’s centres which could face a redesign if the blueprints are given the green light.
Under proposed plans, a ‘super’ centre will be created in Sankey with all Sankey Valley Children’s Centre and Callands Children’s Centre relocating to the hub - although the most vital services will remain in Callands.
The Lymm, Culcheth and Woolston children’s centres will no longer be official children’s centres run by the council but will be managed by alternative services with talks currently taking place with the NHS and LiveWire.
Cygnets in Appleton and Woodlands in Birchwood will also no longer be categoried as an official children’s centre but will still provide the services the council claim people need the most.
Westy in Latchford, Sandy Lane in Orford, Orchards in Padgate, Sunshine in Orford and Little Stars in Dallam children’s centres would not face any changes as a result of the restructuring.
The consultation, which will close on August 22, has been a cause for concern for some parents but Clr Stefan Krizanac (Westbrook - LD) believes the proposed plans will not have a harmful effect on its services.
He said: “The proposed plan and programme is very robust and it will provide services for people who need it and will be able to access it.”
Clr Bob Barr (Lymm - LD) added: “When the idea of children’s centres was conceived, it was a very expensive way of dealing with a specific problem, which was trying to engage parents from all types of backgrounds. If you have lots of money this is a very good idea.”
But added that the restructuring of the centres was an ‘inevitable’ but ‘tricky decision’.
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