Commitment to give centres a SureStart

CHILDREN’S centres in Daventry and its villages have been given a guarantee they will not be shut.

Northamptonshire County Council, which funds the SureStart centres, has made a commitment not to close any of the projects, despite facing a massive shortfall in funding for its coming budget.

Councillor Andrew Grant, cabinet member for children and young people said: “As a council we are facing extremely challenging financial pressures and the Government has cut our grant that is partly used to fund the centres by 8.4 per cent, so savings will have to be made somewhere.

“But we believe that by looking at the back office function of the children’s centres, including the organisation management and delivery models, we can seek the most efficient ways of delivering this service and prioritise funding to delivery of the front line services that are offered at the centres.”

SureStart centres offer activities and courses for young children and their parents such as play times, exercise classes and courses on how to re-enter the jobs market.

As well as their being two centres in the town, a number of villages have one or can access an outreach programme.

One user of the Daventry East centre, on the town’s Southbrook estate, said: “I use the centre for a whole range of things, from stay and play sessions to some of the courses for adults.

“It’s great news that it’s staying open because it’s a resource for everyone to use.

“It’s has a social aspect for adults as well as offering various courses.”

Alan Hills, who sits on NCC for the Southbrook area, said: “I’m very, very pleased that the SureStart centres are not going to be closed.

“I’ve been involved in Sure-Start right from when the first one opened in Daventry and it’s certainly proved to be effective.

“It also works in a very efficient and well-planned way, and long may it continue.”