Local Government

Council shares plans to close children’s centres

Suffolk County Council has announced its plans to close two of its children's centres across the county and turn nine into part-time centres.

A cross-party panel set up by the council was launched earlier in the year to look at potential options for providing a range of services to children, young people and families, including the role of children’s centres.

The new family hub system would see the council switch from 38 children’s centres across Suffolk to 16 full-time and nine part-time centres. The panel’s recommendations will be debated by the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday 16 July, and if approved, a full public consultation will be launched later this year.

By adopting the family hub approach, the panel believes the current offer for services in Suffolk can be expanded to support a wider range of children and young people aged between 0-19.

The hubs will be located in or near to the more deprived locations across Suffolk, incorporating a range of services delivered by the council, health and the voluntary sector. The panel says the hubs will enable the delivery of outreach services for families from at least 55 venues, in 43 different towns and villages across Suffolk.

“What I want to see us do now is move to a period of full public consultation to speak to families currently using these services to see what they think about this proposal,” said Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills.

Jack Abbott, Labour spokesperson for Children's Services and Education at Suffolk County Council: “I am not surprised, but I am absolutely furious. These children’s centres are a vital lifeline for families.”

They should be ashamed that, once again, they are proposing a policy that will hurt young families and negatively impact the outcomes of children.

Jack Abbott, Labour spokesperson for Children's Services and Education at Suffolk County Council

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