centres in Burnham and Highbridge face major shake-up
centres in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge could be set for big changes
under proposals set to be unveiled by Somerset County Council.
authority has released draft plans showing which of its centres
would stay open as part of a major reorganisation of the service
to cut costs and redesign its offering.
council is proposing to keep eight main 'family centres' open -
as opposed to the current 24 - but the public is to be asked for
its view on the changes during a consultation period before any
final decisions are taken.
authority says in its draft document that the eight family centres
would be located in "areas of greatest need" in Bridgwater,
Highbridge, Yeovil, Frome, Glastonbury, Williton, and two in Taunton.
Burnham-On-Sea is not mentioned on the list.
the main centres there could be other places where services could
be offered to families - sometimes in existing buildings that may
not be referred to as children's centres. It also wants to run services
from community venues, such as schools, village halls, health clinics
council also added that it hopes to offer more outreach services,
put more emphasis on visits to families in their own homes, as well
as putting more information online.
the council is under pressure to cut costs, it says the proposals
will 'create a service which provides the right support for families
where it is needed the most'.
Somerset County Council spokesman confirmed to Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"A consultation will be launched this week regarding proposals
to change the way support for families is provided, which includes
the role of Sure Start childrens centres."
decision on the plans is set to be taken by councillors early in
2018 after consideration of the feedback from members of the public
during the consultation phase.
2013, the council consulted on the future of children's centres
and came up with a proposal to "de-register" 18 of them,
keeping 23. However, the plan was scrapped following a public backlash
with petitions and protests.
centres are in places where parents of typically pre-school children
can go for help with things like breastfeeding, budgeting, making
healthy choices for their family and postnatal depression.
the centres have to be used for children but don't have to be used
as children's centres.