Councillors expected to approve cuts to services at four children’s centres

PUBLISHED: 13:00 24 June 2018

Yatton Library's newly redecorated and refurbished building.

Yatton Library's newly redecorated and refurbished building.

Archant

Services at four children’s centres are likely to be reduced by North Somerset Council’s executive next week.

Councillors are meeting on Tuesday to discuss the proposal which recommends cutting services in Yatton, Pill, Banwell, Winscombe and Sandford and Ashcombe in Weston-super-Mare to save £315,000 over the next two years.

Fourteen children’s centres along with three council day nurseries were scrutinised under the community access review which was carried out to ensure community-based services are ‘fit for purpose’ and meet current and future needs.

The survey also determined whether ‘cashable savings’ could be made by reducing the number of centres and integrating services.

If the report is agreed, services at Yatton’s and Pill’s library and children’s centres will be reduced with the loss of two part time community service officer posts.

There would also be a reduction in provision at Banwell, Winscombe and Sandford and a loss of some hours at Ashcombe children’s centre in Weston.

Long Ashton Children’s Centre would be remodelled, at a cost of £40,000, to extend Early Birds Nursery to provide an additional 12 places for children aged two and under.

The report, written by North Somerset Council’s community family service leader, Sheila French, states: “There will be a reduced offer from four children’s centres outlined above.

“However, some services will be maintained in all centres, including health clinics and where possible families will be signposted to relevant services.

“Reviews of the roles of community services officers and managers will be undertaken to attempt to mitigate risks of remaining staff being overloaded with work.”

During a public consultation, concerns were raised about centres being able to meet the needs of an increasing number of people moving into new housing developments and the lack of public transport in rural areas, making it difficult to access neighbouring centres.

Some centres also said they could not meet the needs of families at present and did not know how they would manage with fewer staff.

The executive is due to discuss the findings of the report at a meeting on Tuesday in the Town Hall at 2.30pm.

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