Children's centre is given go-ahead

A £250,000 CHILDREN'S centre will soon be offering Axbridge and Cheddar residents a host of new support and information services

A £250,000 CHILDREN'S centre will soon be offering Axbridge and Cheddar residents a host of new support and information services.Somerset County Council has recognised a need for more child and family services in the area and plans are already underway to build a new facility to cater for residents.The council will be consulting with childcare providers and local councillors in the next couple of months to find out what services are needed and where the centre should be built.Charlie Barker, spokesman for children's services at the council, said: "We've identified that Cheddar and Axbridge are gap areas where we haven't set up any facilities so we will be consulting with a vast majority of people to identify what services are needed."The new building could be based anywhere in the Cheddar area, although it is likely to be in one of the bigger towns or villages so more people can access it.Somerset County Councillor Dawn Hill said: "It will be great for the area. It will enable all the agencies to come together to share information to help families. There's a real need for it here. Parents and children are not always able to get the help they need." Somerset County Council has not yet been told how much money it will be given but similar projects in Somerset have cost upwards of £250,000.Children's centres have been set up across the country as part of the Government's neighbourhood nursery initiative to ensure every community has adequate childcare and family services.Health visitors including midwives, parenting courses and access to Job Centre Plus are just some of the services which could be incorporated into the new facility.The council is expecting to find out how much money will be allocated to the project and the timescale for building work by the end of the summer.Consultations will then start in the villages and towns near Cheddar and the centre could be up and running by the end of 2010.

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