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Review of children’s centres is agreed

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Councillors have agreed to undertake a wide-ranging review of children’s centres which could lead to the closure of up to seven centres.

At a meeting on Tuesday, Derbyshire County Council cabinet members agreed to a five-week review on children’s centres as they try to save £1.1 million.

Residents are to be asked how they think children’s centre services should be delivered, with five possible options being looked at: charging parents for using children’s centres; charging organisations for using children’s centre facilities; reducing staffing levels; closing some children’s centres and only offering services which are not already available elsewhere through the voluntary, community and independent sector.

As part of the review, locals will be asked what they think of the centres, how easy they are to get to, what other services are offered in the local area, opening times and availability of services and how well services are provided to children and families most in need.

There are currently children’s centres in Bakewell, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Fairfield, Gamesley, Glossop, Hadfield, Harpur Hill and New Mills.

It is not yet clear which centres are at risk of closure.

The move is the latest in a series of cost-cutting drives by the council, which has to cut £157 million from its budget because of government cuts.

Cllr Kevin Gillott, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We are faced with making devastating cuts to our services which we don’t want to make.

“We’re doing our best to protect services and jobs but the reality is that the huge reduction in our budget - which equates to cutting our spending on Derbyshire families by a third - means there’ll be a significant and detrimental impact on local people.

“At a time when so many families are struggling the last thing we want to do is reduce what our children’s centres offer but we’re having to consider all our options and it’s a very sad situation.”

The review will run from May 14 to June 17. To have your say, visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/ccreview from May 14.

If any centres are to be closed, a further three-month consultation will then take place.

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