After consultation over the future of Children’s Centres, Liberal Democrats on Kingston Council have adapted proposals, with an ambitious new strategy for children’s services in our borough.
Two of the eight buildings in Kingston will be decommissioned, but there will be an increase in outreach services for the most vulnerable families. This is an exciting opportunity to strengthen an already excellent Children’s Centre service.
Original proposals would have seen only four Centres retained, but both New Malden and North Kingston proved to be highly valued in the public consultation, and will now be remodelled over the next year.
The Council will take account of the needs of the local communities to support the transition and to look to working in partnership in using the buildings in future for community use.
The new strategy will also see provision of a strengthened outreach service to local communities in Norbiton and Surbiton.
Although the buildings will stop running in June 2019, provision will be available locally and our plan will increase engagement with the most vulnerable, particularly those on the Cambridge Road Estate, as more activities are moved into the estate. The service will see £50,000 each year invested to strengthen Children’s Centre outreach model.
Following consultation with users, four of the Children’s Centres in Chessington, Kingston Town, Old Malden and Tolworth will become Children and Family Centres where they will continue to deliver excellent services that meet the needs of children aged 0 – 4 and their families across the Borough.
We will also seek ways to meet the wishes of our residents, such as opening the service to 0–11 year olds in the holidays.
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children’s Services, Councillor Diane White said, “I recognise that the decommissioning of two of our buildings will be very disappointing, but we must listen to families about what they need and find new methods to engage those disadvantaged families who are at risk of poor outcomes. Going out into the community to connect with families is extremely important.”
“On future funding provision, I urge the Government to use the spending review to do something — we need a bold new vision for early intervention, but we need investment from the national level.”
Relevant article: https://www.kingstonlibdems.org/childrens_centres_strategy