Fears for the sur­vival of im­por­tant fam­ily ser­vices

MP de­plores news that two chil­dren’s cen­tres may be shut

Uxbridge Gazette - - NEWS - by Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

THE MP for Hayes and Har­ling­ton has said he is ‘ex­tremely sad­dened’ by the news that Hilling­don Coun­cil are likely to close two chil­dren’s cen­tres in the bor­ough.

On Tues­day getwest­lon­don re­ported that the coun­cil might be forced to close cen­tres in North­wood and in Hayes be­cause the land­lords had de­clined to sign new leases.

MP John McDon­nell has said the coun­cil is ‘un­der­min­ing these im­por­tant ser­vices.’

The two cen­tres are ex­pected to be closed in April 2017 and the author­ity is hold­ing a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, launched on Wed­nes­day De­cem­ber 14 on how to pro­vide a ser­vice for peo­ple in the af­fected ar­eas.

Labour MP Mr McDon­nell said: “For sev­eral years I was the chair of Hilling­don’s Early Years Part­ner­ship which, with fund­ing from the last Labour Gov­ern­ment de­vel­oped and sup­ported a net­work of chil­dren and Sure Start cen­tres across the bor­ough.

“I am ex­tremely sad­dened to see the coun­cil clos­ing cen­tres and un­der­min­ing these im­por­tant ser­vices needed by lo­cal chil­dren and fam­i­lies.”

The plans will re­duce the num­ber of chil­dren’s cen­tres in the bor­ough from 18 to 16 as the fa­cil­i­ties at Uxbridge Col­lege in Cold­har­bour Lane, Hayes and Hill­side Pri­mary School in North­wood will shut.

Hilling­don Coun­cil says land­lords at the two sites have de­clined to agree leases but that the author­ity is look­ing for

n EAR­MARKED FOR CLO­SURE: Chil­dren’s cen­tres at Hill­side Pr Pri­mary School and at the Uxbridge Col­lege cam­pus in Hayes ar are likely to shut in April Photo: Google Maps al­ter­na­tivesal to sup­port res­i­dents.re

Cur­rently the 18 cen­tres ar are run by a num­ber a nu num­ber of dif­fer­ent providers, but from April next year they will all be ru run by the coun­cil.

The coun­cil’s cabi­net m mem­ber for chil­dren’s se ser­vices, Coun­cil­lor David S Sim­monds, said: “It is es­sen­tial that we lis­ten to feed­back from par­ents and staff when re­view­ing coun­cil ser­vices.

“Fam­i­lies have told us that they value the fam­ily sup­port we of­fer.

“Within the pro­posed new model, the chil­dren’s cen­tre pro­gramme will con­tinue to pro­vide high qual­ity sup­port to

n SAD­DENED: MP for Hayes and Har­ling­ton John McDon­nell res­i­dents whilst also pay­ing an en­hanced role in work­ing with other agen­cies to de­velop lo­cal fam­ily sup­port ser­vices.”

Chil­dren’s cen­tres pro­vide a ranger of ser­vices in­clud­ing child health clin­ics, par­ent­ing classes, adult learn­ing classes, spe­cialised fam­ily sup­port, breast­feed­ing ad­vice, and stay play ses­sions.

Each cen­tre serves around 800 to 1,000 chil­dren in their area un­der the age of five.

The pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the fu­ture of the ser­vices and runs un­til Jan­uary 25.

Hilling­don Coun­cil says that the con­sul­ta­tion will in­clude the best ways to of­fer ser­vices for fam­i­lies in North­wood and Hayes, in­clud­ing ac­cess to nearby cen­tres.

The coun­cil stressed that the clo­sures are ‘pro­posed changes’, and res­i­dents can have their say on the plans.

To have your say on the plans visit http://www. hi l l i n g d o n . g ov. u k / havey­our­say

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