Will Forster

Mayor of Woking and Lib Dem County Councillor for Woking South Learn more

Concern over future of Children’s Centres in Surrey

by willforster on 1 March, 2018

My Lib Dem colleagues and I have recently raised concern over the future of Children’s Centres in Surrey.  Currently there are 58 centres across the county, providing services such as childcare, play and learning sessions, parenting courses, employment support and information and guidance for low-income families – but Surrey County Council is currently consulting on a new model for delivering its “Early Help” services, with the aim of saving at least £9.7 million.

I think our Children’s Centres do so much for families and children which is not well publicised, and the County Council should be proud of them.  They provide essential guidance and support for families with challenges and make a real difference to their lives.  The Lib Dems and I will be doing all we can to ensure that we can save as much of the skill and commitment of the staff and ensure that they continue to make a difference in the future.

I know the Children’s Centres we have across Woking supports local families in a variety of ways and is a vital resource which should be protected.  However, the proposals currently being discussed could mean a loss of 40% of their funding – that’s what one Children’s Centre in Dorking has been told.  The County Council needs to reassure local service users, and service providers, that this is a genuine consultation as to how it can better serve the needs of local families at a time when spending is tight, rather than just an academic exercise to justify painful cuts.

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