Cuts may close two children’s centres


Two children’s centres in the High Peak may face closure as the county council try and make £70m worth of cuts in the next two years.

Both Chapel-en-le-Frith and New Mills Children Centres have been highlighted as potential sites to close to help meet the cutback target.

The biggest budget cuts in its history mean Derbyshire County Council needs to consider reducing its children’s centres budget by £4.3m.

Liberal Democrat county councillor for New Mills, Beth Atkins said: “I was overjoyed the day that the New Mills Children’s Centre was opened.

“The Children’s Centre Service is the lynch pin that supports or underpins all the ongoing child related development actions that follow.”

Across the borough there are 32 centres that are currently under threat of closure.

Council leader Anne Western, Labour said: “Cutting services is the last thing anyone involved in local government wants to do − these are quality services that have taken years to build up, run by skilled and dedicated staff and valued and relied upon by local people.

“We’ve done everything we can to keep services running while our budgets are cut back year-on-year and we’re not just sitting back and accepting the situation.

“We’re putting measures in place to put us more in control of what Derbyshire people want to see happen in the future and less reliant on Government money, which can only be a good thing.”

Children’s centres provide support to families and carers and some of the services provided include early education, information and guidance as well as Job Centre support.

Councillor Atkins said: “Every child matters - that’s what they said ten years ago.

“Now we could lose these valuable assets that we have worked so hard to build up a service we can be proud of.”

As Derbyshire County Council face the seventh year of Government austerity cuts to local council budgets councillors will decide whether to shut the centres this month.

Councillor Caitlin Bisknell, Derbyshire county council’s deputy cabinet member for children’s services said: “We don’t want to be in a position where we have to consider closing children’s centres.

“We have no choice but to consider reviewing the way we offer these types of services.

“These services would still be available but instead of being based at a building they would be available within the community to make sure we continue to prioritise families that need help the most.”

County councillor for Chapel, Jocelyn Street, did not respond in time for print.