Labour's Donna Richardson asks about saving children's centres

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At the full council meeting of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council on Thursday 25th February, Labour's candidate for St Luke's ward asked the executive councillor for Children & Learning about plans to ensure that children's centres in the town would be staying open.

Donna asked:

"Back in 2013, a proposal was given to merge Hamstel Children's centre with Temple Sutton as part of the measures to save money, given the strength of feeling regarding the previous proposed closure, can the portfolio-holder confirm that both will be staying open as a result of the budget to be presented tonight?
"Keeping in mind the importance of these children's centres, they are a lifeline to many, especially to those who do not have the support of family nearby. They provide vital services to the area, which are extremely popular."

Labour's Anne Jones, the executive councillor for Children & Learning, responded:

"A report to Cabinet was approved on 10 November 2015, aimed at seeking a view on the proposed redesign of the management of Southend's children's centres, to ensure that all nine children's centres remain open. This is still our intention.

"The recommendation was to revise the management structure into a single delivery model, and was the result of working with the local organisations for all nine children's centres to ensure no closures, but to use this as an opportunity to improve the way that centres provide services to a more sustainable model, within the budget allocation.

"In accordance with the Children Act 2006, consultation will begin in the Spring."

The question and answer can be viewed on the public webcast of the council meeting.

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