Published: September 15, 2013
Consultation begins on proposed shake-up of Children's Centres

Families with young children who benefit from free Children's Centre services in the Burnham-On-Sea area may soon have to pay for some sessions if proposed changes come into effect.

Children's Centre services are currently provided free of charge at 151 venues across Somerset, including 41 Children's Centres, such as the Octopus Children's Centre in Burnham-On-Sea (pictured) and Highbridge Children's Centre.

However, Somerset County Council, which is responsible for the service, has begun a public consultation to identify areas where it can cut costs because some centres in the county are underperforming.

Some centres could close altogether and the consultation document also says that the council is considering running some Children's Centre services from different venues in local areas, instead of from current Children's Centre buildings.

Suggestions include sharing buildings such as village halls, libraries or GP surgeries to keep costs down and asking families to pay for some services in the form of 'stay and play' sessions.

A spokesman for Somerset County Council told "We are in the process of a public consultation that will last until mid November and no decisions will be made until that has been completed."

"Parents and members of the public can provide us with their views by visiting and completing our on-line questionnaire."

A recommendation, based on the results of the consultation, will be put forward to the county council's Cabinet during November and the results will be available in December.


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