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Uncertain future for children’s centre on Southbrook

A children’s centre in Daventry has been earmarked for closure by Northamptonshire County Council.

The authority has launched a consultation into the future of services at the Daventry East Children’s Centre at Benbow Close on the Southbrook estate. It believes the same services can be delievered from different venues.

As part of the plans, children’s centre services and advice points would be delivered at either Southbrook Community Hub or Daventry Library, group support activities for young families would be delivered from venues such as the Southbrook Community Hub, The Abbey Centre, Daventry Library and Daventry Leisure Centre.

Staff teams currently based at Daventry East Children’s Centre and some service delivery would be relocated to the Daventry West Children’s Centre or Daventry Family Centre site.

Changes to the way the council wants to provide children’s centre services have highlighted a number of issues relating to the suitability of Daventry East Children’s Centre. The building, which was converted from two flats, is not owned by the council.

Councillor Heather Smith, deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We recently awarded a contract for the delivery of children centre services in Daventry and in working through the details of how those services will be provided, it became apparent that the Daventry East Children’s Centre presents some challenges.

“We don’t own the building, we’ve never been entirely happy with its accessibility and we have reservations about the wisdom of securing its long term use given the availability of alternative venues locally.”

The council is in the process of introducing changes to the management and delivery of children’s centre services to drive forward changes to the council’s approach to providing early help and prevention services which aims to help families and young people as soon as any challenges or difficulties are identified.

This new model of providing services will see children’s centre services developed as early help specialists with input from health services, supplemented by the county’s libraries.

Libraries will become the default local venue for non-specialist services such as registration and advice while the children’s centres will focus on targeted support for families in need of extra help and expertise.

The new model was subject to public consultation and its development was approved by the council’s cabinet in October 2013.

The consultation will run from 3 July until 14 August. The results of the consultation will be reported to the September meeting of the council’s cabinet.

Consultation documentation is available at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/consultations

 

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