Campaigners protest outside crunch meeting to decide fate of children’s centres

PUBLISHED: 10:44 22 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:11 22 January 2019

Campaigners protest outside the meeting to decide the fate of children’s centres. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Campaigners protest outside the meeting to decide the fate of children’s centres. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Ella Wilkinson

Campaigners protested outside a crunch meeting which will decide the fate of 38 children’s centres in Norfolk.

Norfolk County Council’s children’s services committee will debate the fate of the centres across the county, which have been earmarked for closure as part of plans to halve its children’s services budget.

More than 1,600 people responded to the council’s consultation over the proposals, which were branded “reckless” and “short-sighted” by some.

A revised plan, revealed last week, shows the council is now proposing to keep 15 centres open as local bases – two in each district and three in Norwich.

It is also confident that the 38 children’s centres set to close will continue to be used for childcare and family services and activities.

But parents are fighting to keep the centres they say are so crucial to them open.

They held banners outside County Hall and urged councillors to think again.

Under new plans three centres which were set to stay open, in Attleborough, Holt and Terrington St Clement, are now proposed not be retained – although the council says Attleborough will operate as a “multi-function hub”.

Some councillors are still not convinced by the proposals, with one labelling the proposals “a stitch-up”.

Mike Smith-Clare, Labour spokesman for children’s services, said: “People have detailed the impact this is going to have on their lives and they still have not listened. We will continue to fight this.”

Meanwhile Ed Maxfield, Liberal Democrat councillor, has claimed that the council may have to pay back £16m in government grants if it pushes ahead with the closures – but the council has refuted this suggestion, saying it has reviewed all “potential liabilities”.

Stuart Dark, chairman of the council’s children’s services committee, said: “We have listened and have updated our proposals.

“I believe we can provide effective, targeted support to children and families, through outreach support in people’s homes and venues across the county, plus 15 early childhood and family bases in the areas of highest need.”

The 15 centres which could be retained

Swaffham Children’s Centre, White Cross Road, Swaffham

Thetford Kingsway Children’s Centre, Kingsway, Thetford

Acle Marshes Children’s Centre, Bridewell Lane, Acle

Drayton and Taverham Children’s Centre

Great Yarmouth Children’s Centre, The Priory Centre, Priory Plain, Great Yarmouth

Seagulls Children’s Centre, Great Yarmouth

Downham Market Children’s Centre, Snape Lane, Paradise Road, Downham Market

Nar Children’s Centre, Saddlebow Road, South Lynn, King’s Lynn

Fakenham Gateway Children’s Centre, Norwich Road, Fakenham

North Walsham Children’s Centre, Manor Road, North Walsham

Catton Grove, Fiddlewood and Mile Cross Children’s Centre, Hunter Road, Norwich

City and Eaton Children’s Centre, Norwich

Earlham Children’s Centre, Norwich

Diss Children’s Centre, Diss Infant and Nursery School, Fitzwalter Road, Diss

Long Stratton Children’s Centre

The 38 which would still cease to be children’s centres

Thorpe Hamlet and Heartsease Children’s Centre, Wolfe Road, Norwich

East City and Framingham Earl Children’s Centre, Duckett Close, Norwich

Earlham Early Years Centre, Motum Road, Norwich

Bowthorpe, West Earlham and Costessey Children’s Centre, Humbleyard, Clover Hill, Norwich

North City Children’s Centre, Angel Road Infant School, Angel Road, Norwich

Aylsham Children’s Centre and Reepham Children’s Centre, The Pavilion, Sir Williams Lane, Aylsham (two children’s centres use the same building)

Attleborough Children’s Centre, Church Street, Attleborough

Hellesdon Children’s Centre, Horsford Infant School, Holt Road, Horsford

Spixworth and Sprowston Children’s Centre, Sprowston Infant School, Recreation Ground Road. Norwich

Hoveton and Broadland Children’s Centre, Hoveton Youth and Community Centre, Stalham Road, Hoveton

Dussindale Children’s Centre, Woodside Community Base, Witard Road, Norwich

Hunstanton Children’s Centre, Avenue Road, Hunstanton

North Lynn, Gaywood Children’s Centre, Walpole Road, King’s Lynn

Vancouver Children’s Centre, Fairstead Community Centre, Centre Point, King’s Lynn

West Walton Children’s Centre, Ashleigh Infant and Nursery School, School Road, Wisbech

Methwold Children’s Centre, Old School House, Brandon

Emneth Children’s Centre, Hollycroft Road, Emneth

Watton Children’s Centre, Westfield Infant and Nursery School, West Road, Thetford

Thetford Drake Children’s Centre, Drake Primary School, Fairfields, Thetford

St Clement’s Children’s Centre, Churchgate Way, Terrington St Clement

Dereham Central and Dereham South Children’s Centre, London Road, East Dereham (two children’s centres use the same building)

Litcham Children’s Centre, Litcham Primary School, Weasenham Road, Litcham

Harleston Children’s Centre, Harleston Primary School, School Lane, Harleston

Loddon Children’s Centre, Loddon Library Annexe, Church Plain, Loddon

Wymondham Children’s Centre, Ashleigh Infant and Nursery School, Sheffield Road, Wymondham

Hethersett Children’s Centre, Hethersett Woodside Nursery and Infant School, Firs Road, Hethersett

Village Green Children’s Centre, Moorlands Primary Academy, Moorland Way, Belton

Greenacre Children’s Centre, Peggoty Road, Great Yarmouth

Gorleston and Hopton Children’s Centre, Gorleston Library, Lowestoft Road, Gorleston

Caister Children’s Centre, Caister Infant Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Kingston Avenue, Caister-on-Sea

Trinity Children’s Centre, Martham Primary and Nursery School, Black Street, Martham

Stalham and Sutton Children’s Centre, Brumstead Road, Stalham

Mundesley Children’s Centre, Trunch Road, Mundesley

Cromer Children’s Centre, Mill Road, Cromer

Stibbard Children’s Centre, Fulmodeston Road, Stibbard

Wells Children’s Centre, Polka Road, Wells-next-the-Sea

Holt, Wells and Stibbard Children’s Centre, Charles Road, Holt

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