Hundreds sign petition to stop children’s centres closing

Parents are campaigning to stop the proposed closure of children’s centres across Leicestershire.

Hundreds of signatures have been collected to stop the closure of 25 children’s services as part of Leicestershire County Council plans to merge and re-shape the existing facilities.

The council wants to merge four of its services, which currently work with children and families, into one new service – a ‘Family Wellbeing Service’.

By merging the current four services together (Children’s Centres, Supporting Leicestershire Families, Youth Offending Service and Information Support and Assessment teams) Leicestershire County Council hopes to reduce costs by £1.5m.

The proposed plans will support vulnerable children aged 0-19 and their families and run from 15 buildings across the county. This will mean the closure of 25 services, including 24 children’s centres.

Councillor, Ivan Ould (Lead Member for Children and Family Services) said: “Children’s services across the country are under huge strain, with the Local Government Association estimating a £2bn national funding gap by 2020.”

“The growing pressure on our budget means we need to reduce early help costs and deliver services differently.”

“We’ve spent a long time analysing services and reviewing options. More work is required to develop a new approach, but joining up our prevention work in this way would enable us to provide a range of specialist, tailored support to the most vulnerable families across Leicestershire.”

“Clearly, the proposed new service would target support at those who most need it, so we’re committed to understanding fully the impact before any changes are made.”

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