The council has consulted widely with residents so they have been able to have their say in directing the remaining money with more than 1,000 people responding to the consultation, both online and at events.
The council has worked to minimise the impact of the cuts by protecting services in the borough’s most deprived areas and the proposals will ensure 11 core centres and 7 link centres will continue to provide early years services to families. Five centres will have their funding withdrawn as the council seeks to manage the impact of government grant changes.
The council has also looked at the wide range of other services in Lambeth for children who are under four-years-old and their families when proposing where the savings would be made, in a bid to minimise the impacts. This includes creating better links to health services to support young children, and new early years hubs on our most deprived estates.
Word from the Cabinet
Councillor Jennifer Brathwaite, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “We are proud to have an excellent network of 23 children’s centres in Lambeth, and proud that we have kept these vital services for Lambeth families despite almost nine years of cuts from the government.
“This is not a saving we want to make, but one we now have to make. The council’s proposals will ensure that Lambeth retains 18 children’s centres, the third most in London, and will ensure the borough continues to have a comprehensive early years’ service for our residents.
“We have consulted on proposals to change some centres; there have been meetings with parents and carers across the borough, and the council has listened to all the feedback from the consultation before finalising these proposals.
“In response to feedback via the consultation the council proposes to keep the service at Sunnyhill Children’s Centre in Streatham.”
The council proposals will see children’s centres reorganised into six groups by area in the borough, with one centre being the lead for each area. The proposals come as the council has had to save more than £230 million since 2010, with the need to another £38 million in savings over the next four years
The proposed centres are:
- Eleven core children’s centres offering a full programme of activities every morning and afternoon throughout the week. Services available will include health visiting services, stay and play, crèches, parenting support and adult learning activities such as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes.
- Seven link centres that will be open every morning or afternoon and offer a range of children’s centre activities, including stay and play sessions and support for parents and families.
- The 18 centres will be grouped into six cluster areas, and in each cluster area there will be one lead provider responsible for delivering the services across the children’s centres. The lead provider will employ a team of staff including Better Start workers who will provide one to one support for families living in the area who need additional help.
For the five remaining centres, the council is working with schools and communities try and ensure that no building actually closes and that as many services as possible continue there, such as free childcare for eligible two-year-olds and free nursery places for three-year-olds.
The council will run a further consultation, in the Streatham area, as a result of changes to the original proposals. As a result of Woodmansterne school no longer seeking to run children’s centre services and the feedback from families and councillors about Sunnyhill children’s centre, the council is now proposing to keep the service at Sunnyhill instead.
To read the report visit https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=225&MId=11025