Blackpool children's centres to be affected by £1m cuts

Mereside & Clifton Children's Centre
Mereside & Clifton Children's Centre
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Blackpool Council has announced plans to change services offered by local children's centres as its early years budget is slashed.

Government cuts from the Department for Education mean the budget, which funds school-based children’s centres, will fall by £1m per year.

Two new proposals have now been put forward for the future of the children's centres, as councillors say the current model has become unsustainable and seek to make the savings required.

The first proposal would see the most important services extending opening times and continuing services for children with disabilities. Services would be opened up to the wider community, rather than focusing solely on families with children up to five-years-old.

All buildings would remain open, but activities at Mereside and St. Cuthbert’s children's centres could potentially be merged into neighbouring centres, Baines, Revoe and Thames.

The second proposal would introduce three children’s centres in Blackpool which would work together to ensure residents can access services within walking distance from their homes.

These would include a hub with enhanced services for all residents and extended opening hours. A centre and an outreach venue would provide activities such as support for children and families, though in some cases this would be during term-time only.

Coun Kath Benson, cabinet member for Schools and Learning, said: “We are really proud of the services we provide across our children’s centres and we know how vital they are to local residents.

“Government funding cuts mean it’s not possible to continue to fund Blackpool’s children centres in the way that we currently do, but by listening to residents, and changing the way we run things, we can continue to provide great services and actually grow and develop our service for the wider community.

“I would urge anyone who uses the centres to have their say. We want to make sure we are creating the right services in the right place.”

Blackpool residents can submit their views on the new plans until June 8 by visiting www.blackpool.gov.uk/Consultations.