Children’s centre funding to fall to schools and voluntary groups?

SCHOOLS and voluntary organisations may soon need to provide more funding for North Somerset children’s centres.

The local authority is looking to move the automatic responsibility for finding the cash away from itself and onto other third parties as part of the massive budget savings it needs to make.

North Somerset Council has to save �42million over the next four years and is currently reviewing necessary cuts to provisions to make that happen.

Although central Government has publicised its keenness to maintain children’s centres, funding may not be ringfenced in the future once the cash gets to a local level, meaning it can be used for other things.

So, North Somerset Council has been exploring ways to find more funding elsewhere.

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A report, set to be signed off by the authority’s executive member for children young people’s services, Councillor Jeremy Blatchford, says: “Delivery of children’s centres is one of the priorities for the council.

“In the context of the knowledge that overall revenue costs will reduce in future and the funding for children’s centres may not be ringfenced, ongoing work to move the reliance of provision away for automatic council responsibility is being considered.”

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The report says that the creation of children’s centres on multi-use sites could be one way of sharing the cost.

A decision to proceed with creating children’s centres at The Campus in Locking Castle and St Andrew’s Primary School in Congresbury is set to be approved as part of the same report, as well as the creation of pre-schools at Court de Wyck Primary School in Claverham and Mary Elton Primary School in Clevedon.

Work on children’s centres at Castle Batch and Long Ashton is well underway, with the Worle one set to open in April.

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