Consultation over closure of Sure Start centres

Mums and children protesting against the closure of their Sure Start Centre on Grenfell Avenue, Layton
Mums and children protesting against the closure of their Sure Start Centre on Grenfell Avenue, Layton
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A CONSULTATION has been launched over proposals to close Layton and Highfield Sure Start children’s centres.

Blackpool Council’s children’s services department announced the plans in a bid to claw back £500,000 of funding.

Today David Lund, director for adults and children’s services, urged parents to respond saying the council were keen to make sure the needs of families would be met.

He added: “Unfortunately as part of the cuts necessary to come to the 2011 budget set by the council we have to cut £500k from our Sure Start children’s centre budget.

“The proposal is to undertake a number of actions which include reducing the number of outreach workers, consolidating management arrangements, reviewing key contracts and closing Layton and Highfield Children’s Centres.

“Fortunately they do not operate child care and much of the support to families receive can be provided through other routes.

“I’m pleased to say we have been approached by a number of community groups who are interested in continuing to provide alternative services from the centre. The arrangements for this will be confirmed by the end of March following a full consultation.

“I would urge families to make sure they respond so their views are heard.”

News of the proposals have caused concern with families in Layton.

This month mums who regularly use the Grenfell Avenue site say they are worried about the impact the centre’s closure would have on the community.

Currently families can get financial advice, help on cooking healthy meals and courses to get people back to work from the centre.

They staged a protest outside the centre to make sure their views were known.

Layton ward councillors Roy Haskett and Sue Ridyard are supporting the campaign to keep the centre open.

Coun Haskett said: “It shouldn’t be a drain on re-sources because the centre is already purchased and is only a converted house, so it is only salary.

“The centre opened three years ago as a satellite to the one on Chepstow Avenue at Grange Park but is now a well-used community facility.

“If it is closed, young mums would have to cross the very busy St Walburga’s Road to reach the Grange Park centre.”

Extra information about the proposals can be found at www.blackpool.gov/ConsultationDocument or by calling (01253) 476786.

Views on the proposals should be forwarded to David Lund at: Family Services, Progress House, Clifton Road, Blackpool, FY4 4US by March 21.