Belper Amongst Twenty Children’s Centres To Close

Cabinet members of Derby County Council have today agreed to close 20 Children’s Centres in an effort to deal with increasing budgets cuts.

Councillors met today to discuss the matter and, despite opposition from the public and a long period of consultation, they decided to close over twenty centres.

Belper is one of the centres set to close, though the DCC are in discussions with a local voluntary group who will continue to run services from the existing building.

The council are currently being asked by the government to cut £4.7m from their budget.

The closures mean the loss of 143 full time equivalent posts in children’s and business services.

In children’s services, budgets have already been cut from £127m to £90m and by 2019 that will reduce to around £68m.

Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Councillor Jim Coyle said:

“We don’t want to be in a position where we have to reduce services or close facilities like children’s centres, but today we faced a difficult decision and had to make a very difficult choice.”

He added: “Severe budget cuts mean we don’t have the funds we need to run services in the way we have before so have to look at targeting our resources at residents who need it the most.”

The children’s centres review looked at how early education, childcare, parenting and family support could be offered more effectively in local communities by working with health, schools and voluntary organisations.

More than 1,264 people provided their views on proposals to close children’s centres, which addressed matters such as levels of need, the condition and suitability of the building, transport links and which other services were offered in the area.

The cabinet today recommended that 21 children’s centres in some of the county’s most deprived areas remain open. These include two − Eckington and Gamesley − which were previously earmarked for possible closure.

Centres which will remain open are:

  • Alfreton, Birdholme, Bolsover, Cotmanhay, Creswell, Eckington, Fairfield, Gamesley, Glossop, Hadfield, Heanor, Holme Hall, Ironville, Langley Mill, Long Eaton (urban), Matlock, North Wingfield, Old Whittington, Shirebrook, Staveley and Woodville.

 Centres to close are:

  • Arkwright, Bakewell, Belper, Blackwell, Brampton, Brimington, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Chesterfield town centre (Queen’s Park), Clay Cross, Clowne, Coton-in-the-Elms, Crich, Dronfield, Etwall, Harpur Hill, Hasland, Killamarsh, Long Eaton (rural), Newhall, New Mills, Ripley, Sandiacre, Somercotes, South Normanton, Stonebroom, Tupton, West Hallam, Whaley Thorns and Wirksworth.

Talks are being held with unions to try to limit job losses and affected staff will be offered voluntary redundancy or re-deployment wherever possible.

Discussions will continue to take place with voluntary and community groups with a view to keeping some children’s centre services operating in some locations.

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