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Children's Centre could close in money saving plans
7:40am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
A CHILDREN’S centre in Brentwood has been earmarked for closure in plans to save £215million across Essex.
Essex County Council has revealed proposals to change, merge and close a number of youth services as they look to save money by 2016-17.
Separate consultations, one specifically for children’s centres and another for youth services, have been launched by the authority.
Among the 11 children’s centres in Essex lined up for closure is The Ark at Becket Keys Church of England School in Sawyers Hall Lane.
Council bosses have stated the site will merge with the Larchwood Gardens centre at Larchwood Primary School.
Reasons behind the proposed closure is due to the centre not being in “an area of lesser deprivation” and it’s “limited available facilities for families due to space restrictions”.
Lib Dem county councillor for Brentwood South David Kendall said the proposals regarding The Ark and council run youth services in general concern him.
Mr Kendall, a member of the Brentwood Youth Partnership, said: “Cuts were already made to youth services last year and the latest plans will cut them back to the bone.
“I think closing The Ark would be a backwards step as I think we need the two centres in Brentwood and I think they are going to become very important in years to come.
“This should act as a wake up call to anyone concerned about youth services and they should get involved in the consultation.”
Dick Madden, county councillor responsible for families and children, said children’s centres are still “important” to have, but finanical challenges faced means priorities have to be sorted.
Mr Madden said: “We have actively worked with our children’s centre providers to make sure that the impact this has on services is kept to a minimum.
“I truly believe that this new flexible way of working, which focuses on services rather than sites, will mean that the children’s centre staff will be able to provide the services that families need and want.”
The children’s centre consultation is open until December 5 and to take part, visit www.essex.gov.uk/childrenscentres.