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Children Centres in Gloucestershire will not close

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

Gloucestershire County Council HQ

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CHILDREN centres across Gloucestershire will be shielded from the Government cuts which have caused hundreds of others to close.

Councils all over the country have had to deal with losing millions of pounds of Whitehall funding which helps vulnerable people.

But Gloucestershire County Council has vowed to protect its 36 children centres by maintaining their budgets.

Children centres provide families with information and support. They run groups for pregnant women, antenatal sessions, childminding support, baby massage and family time information sessions.

The authority has had to find £6.6 million in savings from its Children and Families services.

It decided that £2.3 million would be saved through a 'service redesign' of early intervention services.

In 2012/13, the council's early intervention budget was £21m, but the figure will shrink by 26 per cent in 2013/14, placing a strain on services.

Councillor Paul McLain, cabinet member for vulnerable families, said: "In some other areas, the difficult financial climate has forced local authorities to make significant cuts to children's centre services and even close some centres. We recognise that these centres deliver really important support for those families who need our help the most. That's why we are protecting their budget this year and keeping them all open in Gloucestershire."

The £2.3m money-saving 'redesign' will see £1m of funding shifted from the early intervention pot into the Dedicated Schools Grant to help pay for free education for the most vulnerable two-year-olds. Another £700,000 will be saved from central education services due to national reform.

Services that were commissioned for one year and won't have their funding renewed will save £400,000.

The council is currently in the process of handing over the running of children's centres in the county to new private providers.

Children centre locations:Cheltenham: Charlton Kings, Gardners Lane, Hester’s Way, Leckhampton, Oakwood, Rowanfield, Up HatherleyCotswolds: Cirencester, Northleach, Stow, TetburyForest of Dean: Hilltop, River, Newent, Coleford, MitcheldeanGloucester: Bartongate, Finlay and Tredworth, Kaleidoscope, The Beacon, Quedgeley, The Lighthouse, The Compass, The Link, The OaksStroud: Five Ways, Painswick, Parliament, The Park, Treetops, WottonTewkesbury: Bishop’s Cleeve, Brockworth, Jigsaw, Winchcombe, Noah’s Ark

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  • Shireresident  |  March 01 2013, 10:45AM

    So hiving centres off to the profit making private sector is saving the service is it? I suppose it is if you can afford it. Even if the county cover the tab for users they will still be paying a profit margin to the private companies. Hardly best value for public money but all part of the Tory agenda to turn councils into mere comissioning authorities that hand out contracts to their chums in the private sector. Look what has happened in other areas, the massive profits made by British Gas whilst pensioners freeze to death. It's a simple fact that some essential services should be paid for out of the public purse to stop blatant exploitation like this, try convincing David Cameron and George Osborn of this. They might be more receptive to a bit of lobbying after Eastleigh!

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