New �400k centre to be finished by spring

EAGERLY awaited construction work on a children’s centre in Congresbury is well underway and it looks set to open this spring.

EAGERLY awaited construction work on a children’s centre in Congresbury is well underway and it looks set to open this spring.

Building work has begun at the new �406,000 facility, based at the site of St Andrew’s Primary School in Station Road, and it is hoped it will be completed at the beginning of April.

The centre, which will form close links with the nearby school, will contain a reception area, two play rooms, a family kitchen, a multi-agency office and a secure outside play area.

North Somerset Councillor and Congresbury ward representative, Tom Leimdorfer, said: “Preventive work with families is far more cost effective than expensive crisis intervention and I am delighted to see that the building for this new children’s centre is now well underway.”

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Cllr Leimdorfer stressed that it is not a child minder service but is an open facility which aims to reach out to parents to give advice and support.

He said he hopes it will appeal to people from surrounding villages such as Wrington, Langford, Burrington and Churchill and the community of travellers based at Moorland Park in Hewish.

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The centre will provide stay and play sessions, a resource centre for parents and child minders, health and nutrition advice and a base for ante-natal and post-natal groups.

At Congresbury Parish Council meeting on Monday, the centre’s assistant locality leader, Tracey Wells, said staff will actively visit some communities to encourage them to use the centre and is urging people to spread the word.

Tracey said: “The centre will have Ofsted inspections and it could be subject to the ‘payment by results’ scheme by the Government.

“If this is the case then it’s even more crucial that we spread the word about the centre and what it has to offer as it can help provide a better outcome for families.”

A total of �1.5million has been slashed from the unitary authority’s 2011/12 budget for children’s centres since the comprehensive spending review in October, which means volunteers may be needed to help run the centre once it has opened.

The centre is a part of the Yeo Valley and Rural Outreach Children’s Centre project and was funded by the Government’s Sure Start programme.

The now defunct scheme created 14 centres across North Somerset such as Yatton Moor Children’s Centre and Ashcombe Children’s Centre, Weston.

For more details call Debbie Pope on 01934 426643.

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