Councillors expected to approve cuts to children's centre services

PUBLISHED: 06:55 21 June 2018 | UPDATED: 07:09 21 June 2018

Banwell Community Centre and Children's Centre.

Banwell Community Centre and Children's Centre.

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Services at four children's centres are likely to be scaled down by North Somerset Council's executive next week.

A report to the executive has recommended councillors approve cuts to services in Yatton, Ashcombe, Pill, plus Banwell, Winscombe and Sandford children’s centres to save £315,000 over the next two years.

If it is approved, services at Yatton will be reduced, leading to a loss of one part-time community services officer post.

North Somerset Council had considered closing Banwell, Winscombe and Sandford’s centre but the authority is negotiating with Banwell Parish Council to enable the service to continue running from the building.

More: Ray of hope for Banwell’s threatened children’s centre.

Banwell Parish Council clerk Liz Shayler said: “If everything goes according to plan, services will continue to run from the children’s centre as of September 1 and hopefully users won’t notice any difference in the service delivery.”

One part-time community services officer post will also go from Banwell and Pill and hours will also be reduced at Ashcombe Children’s Centre and at Ashcombe Nursery and Little Waves.

Long Ashton Children’s Centre will be remodelled, at a cost of £40,000, to enable Early Birds Nursery to provide an additional 12 places for children aged two and under.

The report to the executive, written by North Somerset Council’s community family service leader, Sheila French, states: “There will be a reduced offer from four children’s centres outlined above.

“However, some services will be maintained in all centres, including health clinics and where possible families will be signposted to relevant services.

“Reviews of the roles of community services officers and managers will be undertaken to attempt to mitigate risks of remaining staff being overloaded with work.”

Fourteen children’s centres along with three council day nurseries were scrutinised under the community access review which was carried out to ensure community-based services are ‘fit for purpose’ and meet current and future needs.

More: ‘Tragic’ lack of use blamed for children’s centre closing.

During the public consultation run by North Somerset, some concerns were raised about centres being able to cater for an increasing number of people, with several large house-building projects in the pipeline.

The executive is due to discuss the findings of the report at a meeting on Tuesday at Weston Town Hall at 2.30pm.

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