Will Forster

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

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Fears that 40 Children’s Centres could close in Surrey

by willforster on 5 September, 2018

The Lib Dems and I have expressed concerns for the future of Surrey’s Children’s Centre provision in the light of the sudden departure of one of their leading champions and advocates from the senior team at Surrey County Council.

The departure comes after plans to reduce provision were announced by the Conservative administration earlier this year, but with no detail as to which of Surrey’s 58 Children’s Centres would close.

With the future of 58 Children’s Centres to be the subject of a consultation process in the autumn, the departure of Ben Byrne, a leading advocate for the service, really worries my Lib Dem colleagues and I.  Surrey’s Director of Children’s Services came from Essex County Council where there is only one Family Hub per District or Borough run by Virgin and Barnado’s.  If this model were to be replicated in Surrey over 40 Children’s Centres would close, severely depleting the support for vulnerable families across the county and putting at risk the rich diversity of our current provision, which is tailored to local needs.

The Lib Dem Group at County Hall are calling on families and their supporters to ensure that they rally to support their local service and help us fight to keep the best possible provision.  Millions of pounds is to be cut from Surrey Council’s budget – but we say that the most vulnerable must be protected at all costs.

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