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Decision to close children's centres is 'deeply flawed'

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.'

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:

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!"


Centres for closure named

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 children's centres to close

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.

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."

– Jenny Whittle, Kent County Council cabinet member for specialist children's services