Parents urged to attend Melton event on closure plans for children’s centres

The Edge in Melton, venue for one of the children's centres which could be closed by the county council to streamline family support services EMN-180604-160419001
The Edge in Melton, venue for one of the children's centres which could be closed by the county council to streamline family support services EMN-180604-160419001
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Parents are expected to converge on Melton Theatre on Wednesday night to get more information on plans to close the town’s three children’s centres and replace them with a single hub at Venture House.

The special event, which runs from 6.30pm to 8pm, is part of a 12-week public consultation on the proposals of Leicestershire County Council.

The Cove in Melton, venue for one of the children's centres which could be closed by the county council to streamline family support services EMN-180604-160349001

The Cove in Melton, venue for one of the children's centres which could be closed by the county council to streamline family support services EMN-180604-160349001

Melton families have only until April 22 to make their views known about the revamp of ‘early help’ services which, if approved, would see the number of support buildings reduced across the county from 40 to just 15.

Leicestershire County Council is proposing to reduce costs by £3.8 million by merging children’s centres, Supporting Leicestershire Families (SLF), the Youth Offending Service (YOS) and Information, Support and Assessment teams into a Family Wellbeing Service.

If county councillors back the proposals vulnerable Melton families will no longer be supported at The Cove, in Sysonby Street, The Edge, on Dalby Road, and Fairmead, on Drummond Walk, and they would instead all have to attend a new set-up at Venture House, on Asfordby Road.

The children’s centres provide health and learning support to families for pre-school children, particularly for babies, younger children and parents who need additional help and assistance.

The Fairmead centre in Melton, venue for one of the children's centres which could be closed by the county council to streamline family support services EMN-180604-160459001

The Fairmead centre in Melton, venue for one of the children's centres which could be closed by the county council to streamline family support services EMN-180604-160459001

Among the sessions they run in Melton are ‘stay and play’ groups, a support group for single parents, a breastfeeding cafe, a baby book club, a group for childminders and the kids they look after plus parent and baby yoga classes.

Shout4Residents, a campaigning group for residents living to the south of Melton, say many parents, who attend sessions at The Edge children’s centre, are concerned about the changes being put forward.

The organisation said it is ‘very disappointed’ about the planned closure of its local centre and that it had written to County Hall to explain the worries of families living in its area.

Chairperson John Bellamy said: “Many families are deeply concerned about the changes and closures.

“Our hope now is that Melton residents will add their comments before April 22, when the consultation period ends.

“Shout4Residents, as representatives of the local community, understand the impact this has been having and will have on the lives of our local residents in the Warwick Ward.

“We have been fighting to make sure that the services at The Edge can be kept going for the benefit of the residents of the ward.

“We hope all residents understand the benefits that the centres provide and feel that they should be saved. People need to join the fight and have their say because our children are our future.”

Councillor Ivan Ould, cabinet member for children and families, said: “Helping the most vulnerable families is key and the proposed new service would ensure they receive the specialist, tailored support they need.

“Although bringing together these services would help us to tackle problems at an early stage more effectively, it does mean that fewer people would receive support.

“That’s why we’re committed to understanding the impact. We’ve carried out a lot of work analysing options but it’s important now to hear the views of residents, and I’d encourage people to have their say.”

Reorganising services would see five hubs established, at Loughborough, Hinckley, Wigston, Coalville and the Melton one at Venture House.

The preferred locations for 10 family support centres would be at Earl Shilton, Shepshed, Thurmaston, Lutterworth, Market Harborough, Huncote, Castle Donington, Measham, Loughborough and Coalville.

Go online at www.leicestershire.gov.uk/earlyhelp to find out more information on the proposals and to make a comment on them.

Will the plans impact on your family if they are adopted? Tell us your views by emailing nick.rennie@jpress.co.uk