Further cost saving by East Sussex County Council could see more than half the county’s childrens’ centre close.
This week members of the Labour group on ESCC said the Children’s Service Early Help Strategy was causing ‘deep concerns’ and they urged members of the public to respond to a consultation being undertaken by ESCC that runs until July 29th.
The Children’s Services Early Help Strategy that has been put out for consultation says: “…early help is about the services and support we deliver, not buildings.”
And it claims the draft strategy has been developed through: “…a detailed strategic commissioning review to help build stronger families in East Sussex”.
Of 26 childrens’ centres across the county 14 would close if the ESCC strategy was implemented in its entirety. Of those 14 two are in Hastings and St Leonards.
ESCC says: “Our aim is to identify providers of other pre-school or education services who may want to take over the remaining 14 buildings, but where this is not possible the centres could close. Support and services would still be provided where needed but would be delivered differently. Where a need develops in a specific location for a service, this could be provided in an alternative venue in future.”
The centres slated for closure locally are The Bridge and West St Leonards.
Labour Party Education Spokesperson, Councillor Tania Charman says: “Within this strategy… if no other providers come forward to take them over and provide services these centres would close.”
Ms Charman says: “We understand that these proposed cuts are being driven by reducing government funding to local government, but we are concerned to ensure that families in Hastings and in the rest of East Sussex get the help that so many need! We want to encourage people to respond to the consultation.”
The public consultation can be found on the County Council’s Consultation Hub: https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/childrens-services/public-early-help-survey/ Paper copies can be obtained from a children’s centre. Comments and queries about the proposals can be emailed to: email@example.com or use 01273 336626 for more information.