Extra help for children

Four children's centres are to open in deprived parts of Waveney over the next year. The centres, targeted mainly at children up to the age of five and their families, will provide childcare, information and advice, a place for parents to meet each other, and in some cases adult education classes and community centre facilities.

Four children's centres are to open in deprived parts of Waveney over the next year.

The centres, targeted mainly at children up to the age of five and their families, will provide childcare, information and advice, a place for parents to meet each other, and in some cases adult education classes and community centre facilities.

One will be in the grounds of Beccles Middle School and three others will open in the Lowestoft area to add to three that already exist in the town. They will be at Roman Hill Primary, Benjamin Britten High School and Uplands Community Centre in Carlton Colville.

One of the Lowestoft centres is in a ward classed as being in the most deprived 20pc in the country, while the others, including Beccles, are in areas classed as more deprived than average. Another will open in Mildenhall as part of a plan to have 35 children's centres across Suffolk.

A planning application has just been submitted for the Beccles site, where work is due to start in December in time for an opening in September next year. The £930,000 scheme will include day care for 30 children, a new home for the local youth club and a community room for meetings and other events. The dilapidated youth club in the grounds of the school, which is also used for day care, will be demolished. There will be an outside play area behind the building and parking for 12 cars.

The centre will work closely with the nearby Rigbourne Hill community centre, which has larger rooms. Vicar John Beauchamp, who runs the centre, said: “We are building a strong partnership with the children's centre. We are already working with the children's centre to run a young mum's club which will be in our building but run by the children's centre. It is very positive.”

Most Read

Roman Hill children's centre could cost £274,000 and is being adapted from the primary school's old nursery. It will open first in April next year. Carlton children's centre, also estimated at £274,000, will run inside Uplands community centre on Ashburnham Way, while land at Benjamin Britten on Blyford Road will be used for Gunton and Oulton children's centre which is expected to cost £349,000. The centres at Carlton and Gunton and Oulton have been delayed by objections so may not open until June or July next year.

The centres are being funded by Surestart and the county council as part of a national government strategy for children's centres.

Suffolk County Council spokesman John Ross said: “The purpose is to provide the kind of facilities, advice and support that helps families and communities grow and prosper. It is a rapidly growing project. The satisfaction levels from those that are open are astonishingly high. It really makes a difference to people's lives.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter