Fred Dinenage has been speaking to Jenny Whittle from Kent County Council, about the proposed closure of 23 children's centres in the county.
1 in 4 children's centres in Kent is facing closure as County Hall tries to save one and a half million pounds. The centres offer child care services and advice to thousands of parents with children under five.
We spoke to one mother outside Marden Children's Centre, one of those under threat.
Gordon Henderson, the MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, has written to Kent County Council opposing the proposed closure of Woodgrove Children’s Centre in Sittingbourne, and a reduction in hours at Beaches and Lilypad Children’s Centres on Sheppey.
In a letter seen by ITV Meridian he says, the decision to close the centres in 'deeply flawed' and has raised concerns about the consequences it will have on 'vulnerable constituents.'
– GORDON HENDERSON MP
The suggestion that Woodgrove and Beaches do not serve areas in which children and families need early support services is bizarre. In fact, both areas contain many families who require support, not least because their children have special needs.
He also added:
– GORDON HENDERSON MP
The suggestion that Woodgrove is only 800 meters from Sittingbourne Library is laughable. It might be true if you are a bird, but most of the centre users are not crows, they are people, many of whom do not have their own transport!"
Kent County Council have proposed the closure of 20 children's centres in order to reduce costs.
The council has said that the planned centre closures require less support, deliver limited services or are near existing children's centres.
- Apple Tree, Little Bees, Briary, Tina Rintoul and Swalecliffe in Canterbury
- Daisy Chains and Little Painters in Gravesham
- Folkestone Early Years, The Village and New Romney in Shepway
- Pembury in Tunbridge Wells
- Squirrel Lodge and Cherry Blossom in Ashford
- Loose and Marden in Maidstone
- Hadlow/East Pekham and Larkfield in Tonbridge and Malling
- The Buttercup, The Daisy and Primrose in Dover
- Merry-Go Round and Dunton Green in Sevenoaks
- St Mary's and Woodgrove in Swale
Kent County Council is planning to close 20 children's centres across the county.
The council says it needs to make savings and the closures will make savings of at least £1.5m.
The children's centres provide early childhood services and important support for parents and carers.
Kent council is launching a 12-week consultation today to get the views of local parents and the wider community who use the centres.
– Jenny Whittle, Kent County Council cabinet member for specialist children's services
Kent County Council is committed to continuing to provide the services we currently offer through our Children's Centres and continuing to make a difference to the futures of families we help through those centres. We need to make efficiency savings and will seek to do this by minimising property and management costs."