Warwickshire Early Years and Children’s Centre Consultation – NOW CLOSED

Consultation

This consultation has now ended – Tuesday 27th August 2013. 5pm.

Warwickshire County Council are proposing a new delivery model for Warwickshire’s Children’s Centres that makes savings of £2.3 million and provides a joined up ‘Early Years Offer’ of services for children aged 0-5 and their families.

Here is the Children’s Centres Facing the Challenge document which is an overview of the key points raised in the consultation document and an outline of the financial challenge faced by Warwickshire County Council

The savings and the proposed new model are the subject of this consultation, which seeks the views and opinions of parents and carers and organisations who could be affected by these changes.

The Warwickshire Early Years and Children’s Centres Consultation Document explains the purpose of the consultation and details why changes have to be made and how the council proposes to make them.

A glossary of terms has been provided to give meaning to terms included in the documentation provided:

Childrens Centres Glossary

Frequently Asked Questions

Two sets of FAQs have been produced, the first is around the Children’s Centres themselves and the second are questions on the consultation proposals.

In order that your views can be considered before any final decisions are made we are conducting a nine week public consultation on the proposals.

The consultation will run from Tuesday 25 June 2013 to Tuesday 27 August 2013 at 5pm. The consultation must conclude on this date in order to meet contract tendering timescales.

Timeline

The following document summarise the key steps and expected dates in the process to reorganise operation of Children’s Centres, required to make identified savings of £2.3m by 2014/15.

If you have any questions please email childrenscentres@warwickshire.gov.uk or call 01926 742226.

You can respond to the consultation in a number of different ways:

  • Complete the questionnaire online using the following link: Warwickshire Early Years & Children’s Centres Consultation
  • By emailing responses to childrenscentres@warwickshire.gov.uk
  • By posting questionnaire form to: Early Years Offer Consultation, Warwickshire County Council, Saltisford Office Park, Ansell Way, Warwick, CV34 4UL.
  • By attending a public consultation event. The following public consultation meetings have been scheduled:
  • Alternatively leave your comments below.
Venue Date Time
The Kenilworth Centre, Abbey End Car Park, Kenilworth, CV8 1QJ Monday 8th July 6-8pm
Warwickshire College, Technology Drive, Rugby CV21 1AR Tuesday 9th July 6-8pm
Shire Hall, Warwick, CV34 4RL Wednesday 10th July 6-8pm
Nicholas Chamberlaine Technology College, Bulkington Road, Bedworth, CV12 9EA Monday 15th July 6-8pm
Leamington Town Hall (Assembly Room), 1 Parade, Town Centre, Leamington Spa, CV32 4AA Tuesday 16th July 6-8pm
North Warwickshire Borough Council, The Council House, South Street, Atherstone, CV9 1DE Wednesday 17th July 6-8pm
Hatters Space Community Centre, Upper Abbey Street, Nuneaton, CV11 5DN Thursday 18th July 6-8pm
Elizabeth House, Church Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6HX Monday 22nd July 6-8pm
Shipston High School, Shipston, CV36 4DY Wednesday 24th July 10am-12noon
Rugby Borough Council, Town Hall, Evreux Way, Rugby, CV21 2RR Wednesday 31st July 10am-12noon
The CHESS Centre 460 Cedar Rd, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 9DN Tuesday 13th August 2-4pm
The Sydni Centre, Cottage Square, Leamington Spa CV31 1PT Wednesday 21st August 2-4pm
The Greig Centre, Kinwarton Rd, Alcester, Warwickshire B49 6AD Thursday 22nd August 2-4pm

UPDATE: Further Information from the Public Consultation Events

A number of the public meetings have now taken place. The presentation from the public meetings is available to download. Slides 8 – 18 of the presentation are district specific so you can find out more about how this will effect you and your district/borough.

(There may be some formatting issues on some of the slides when using some tablet and mobile devices. If you require these slides in a different format, please contact the team on childrenscentres@warwickshire.gov.uk or phone 01926 742597)

The notes from these meeting are available below and will be updated as each meeting takes place.

A meeting with health colleagues was also held on the 12th July 2013, the notes from this meeting are also available to download:

On the 18th June 2013 a report went to the Children and Young People Overview & Scrutiny Committee to review progress and endorse the proposals for both a revised Early Years offer and a revised delivery model for Children’s Centres.

After the consultation finishes

All of the responses received by the closing date will be used to inform the final report and recommendations to Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC) elected Cabinet Members in September 2013. Cabinet will decide which proposals will be taken forward.

The information we collect will be collated and analysed to inform this final report. Individuals will not be identified.

Thank you for taking the time to consider these proposals and provide feedback.

If you have any queries on this consultation please email childrenscentres@warwickshire.gov.uk or phone 01926 742597.

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About Warwickshire Observatory
Warwickshire County Council's home for information and intelligence about Warwickshire and its people.

53 Responses to Warwickshire Early Years and Children’s Centre Consultation – NOW CLOSED

  1. Linda Crawshaw says:

    The Centres are a vital service for the community, especially for new, anxious parents who can receive help and guidance from experts. They also are a wonderful meeting place for toddlers before they go to nursery, to enable them to gain confidence in a different environment to home.

    • Christine Nunn says:

      100% agree with you

    • Sally Lightfoot says:

      Thank you for your positive comment. The comments will help inform our public consultation.

  2. Julie Fox says:

    I’ve been really impressed with the services and support offered by my local Children’s Centres. I think they’re hugely important for new parents as a source of advice and information as well as being invaluable for meeting other parents who are going through the same experiences as you.

    • Sally Lightfoot says:

      Thank you for your positive comment. I am pleased you have been impressed with the services and support your local centre has offered. Your comments will help inform our public consultation

  3. Ian Law says:

    As new parents the children’s centres have been fantastic with advice and help during pregnancy and obviously been a key part of our son growing up and developing and also helping us to develop as parents. More should be done to promote what a great service these centres provide in bringing people from all backgrounds together.

  4. Sally Lightfoot says:

    Thank you for commenting positively on your experience of your local Children’s Centre. Your comments will help inform our public consultation.

  5. Nic Howard says:

    Wellies in Wellesboure has allowed me to make friends with some wonderful mums in the village two years on we all keep in contact and update each other how our toddlers are doing and how they are acting out, i don’t feel alone to know my daughter isn’t the only toddler to throw paddies in a super market! with out children centres bringing people together and letting kids learn through play we would feel out in a limb.

    • Sally Lightfoot says:

      Thank you for your comments and your personal experience of Wellies Children’s Centre. All comments will help inform our public consultation.

  6. Yvonne Washington says:

    How very crafty of you to have all of the public consultations at bed time!

    I have been using the children’s centre for nearly 3 years and in that time have noted a significant drop in services offered. The services have Already been reduced and focused on the more “needy” this has left people who don’t fall into the right social category neglected and struggling. I used to be able to access the children’s centre most days of the week, it offered me great support in the first few months of my daughters life. Now I am starting to access services for my son there is a lot less on offer. I worry that some parents who need extra social support from other parents are already not getting it. If parents don’t have these kind of support networks on offer then some of the harder issues with parenting will spiral out of there control and resources will just be stretched in areas such as health visitor services and social services. The centre has also helped me regain confidence. I was working full time in marketing before becoming a mom and was confident in my day to day life. After having my daughter my confidence was stripped back, with out the centre and its staff I wouldn’t have pursued self employment. If this support isn’t on offer then how can we expect moms to go back into the work place?

    • Sarah Windrum says:

      Yvonne, I couldn’t agree with you more! When my daughter was born I struggled adjusting to being a mum after over a decade building a career. Classes at the children’s centres helped me enormously in bonding with my baby and created a safe & supportive environment for me to talk about the things I was struggling with. Mums like us will slip through the net because we don’t fall into the targeted social categories and the only contact / support we will have is in a busy baby clinic.

  7. Sally Lightfoot says:

    Thank you for your comments and sharing your personal experience of attending a Children’s Centre. Your comments will help inform our public consultation.
    We have just booked a daytime meeting at Shipston High School for 24th July at 10.00 am and are considering dates and venues for some further daytime meetings across the county.
    There has been additional funding allocated to South Warwickshire Foundation Trust to increase the numbers of Health Visitors in Warwickshire by 2015. We are working in partnership with our health colleagues to from the Trust to determine where these will be located in Children’s Centres and the services they offer to all families.

  8. Zoe Hillcox says:

    Whilst on maternity leave I visited the children’s centre in Coleshill with my daughter twice a week. We took part in courses such as baby massage and sign language, went on trips and bought our vitamins from there. We also attended the breast feeding club and the people who we met there made life a lot easier, especially in those first few months when being a mom can seem very daunting.
    I still pop up there now and am always made to feel welcome and part of the family, the staff are amazing they remember your name and your child’s, answer any questions you have or get you the information if they don’t know the answer.
    I can honestly say that life would have been quite lonely without the guys at the centre and the moms that I met there, we helped and supported each other in so many different ways and had a good laugh doing it. If places like this close down then I’m sure there will be an increase in mothers feeling they can’t cope, childrens centres are an important respite from the intensity of being a new mom.

    • Sally Lightfoot says:

      Thank you for your comments and for sharing your positive experience at Coleshill Children’s Centre.

  9. We’ve attached the slides from yesterday’s public meeting at Kenilworth to the post above so you can get an idea of what is being discussed at the meetings. We hope these are helpful.

    • Sally Lightfoot says:

      Thank you for including these.

    • Cllr Sarah Boad says:

      This is not the complete presentation – there are a load of slides missing, towards the end of the slide show. Please can you put up the correct version – Ta!

      • Hi Cllr Boad,
        The full set of slides are now available on the post.

        • Cllr Sarah Boad says:

          The school readiness slide doesn’t include Leamington and Warwick – please can you post the correct version – Ta!

          • Hi Cllr Boad,
            The Family and Parenting Support have just sent me the full set of slides which have just been added and the School Readiness slide (4th from last slide) does list Leamington & Warwick. Thanks for your comments.

          • Ross Keefe says:

            Cllr Boad,

            It has been found that there may be some formatting issues on one or two of the slides when using some tablet and mobile devices. We would be more than happy to provide you with a different format that may be better viewed on your device. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

          • Cllr Sarah Boad says:

            I can see the full slide on the PC so that is fine! Thanks for your help!

  10. Chloe Gibson says:

    I have been using the Graham Adams Centre in Southam for over 3 years. Both my girls love it there. There is equipment, toys and facilities which we do not have access to at home. The fact the centre is local is a massive bonus for us. The centre has been invaluable in helping me meet other mums and getting advice on how do deal with baby and toddler queries.

    • Sally Lightfoot says:

      Thank you for sharing your positive experience of the Graham Adams Centre. All comments left on this site will help inform our public consultation about Children’s Centres in Warwickshire.

  11. Sarah Windrum says:

    Could you post the link to the Scrutiny Committee report here please as discussed in Warwick last night? Also, is Shipston to be the only day meeting as you mentioned others? Thanks!

    • Sally Lightfoot says:

      The link to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee should be up on this site by today. There are 4 further daytime meetings that should be listed on the site later today also.

  12. Hi Sarah, I’ve now added the report to the original post above. I will be adding further dates for public meetings in due course.

    • Sarah Windrum says:

      Thank you for getting the link up so quickly. That’s great! Will check back to see about other meetings but as much notice as possible would be brilliant! Thanks!

  13. Mrs Deborah Statters says:

    I receive excellent support from my local cluster of children’s centres, Wolston & Cawston, the staff are knowledgeable, well trained, friendly and approachable, they signpost me, give me suggestions how to work with my children, my charges, my grandchild. Although I have transport, many other villagers don’t, I feel extremely lucky to have this vital resource on my doorstep. I signpost other members of my local community to the children’s centre so they too may benefit from the variety of services and wonderful experiences that are made available to every child and their families and carers that attend the: sessions, courses, workshops and training. I struggled to get through the day before the centre landed at our library. I hate to think what will happen to my family and my local community families should the centres be closed.. Heaven forbid! …Please, please, please… do everything you can to keep this vital lifeline of support and advice open.. no cuts!!
    If you have to cut it… I suggest you consider condensing sessions… e.g. only open for 3 days a week and mingle a couple of compatible sessions to include two groups that may be equally supported.. e.g. young parents group may be held on the same session as childminder session… this would condense the foot-fall to one session instead of two and do away with running any low attended sessions. Also, a number of us childminders are willing to offer our time as volunteers, if we can do anything to help this situation please let us know what we need to do about it. You need to tell us – as we have no idea what needs to be done! Thank you for listening.

    Debbie Statters, Accredited Childminder, Wolston CV8 3GY

    • Sally Lightfoot says:

      Thank you for your comments. I am glad that you have found sessions useful at Wolston and Cawston. Under our 3 proposals that you will see in the consultation link, our favoured proposal (Option 1) involves keeping children’s centres open under a group and collaboration model, which will mean that there will likely be some adjustments to the amount of activity delivery or opening hours as you suggest in your post.
      Thank you for your offer of help and your willingness to volunteer along with your childminder colleagues. I will contact the centre manager and advise her of your generous offer of support. Thank you

  14. Hi all, please find listed below some more public meeting dates:

    31st July – Rugby Borough Council, Town Hall, Evreux Way, Rugby, CV21 2RR – 10.00-12.00

    21st August – The Sydni Centre, Cottage Square, Leamington Spa CV31 1PT – 2.00-4.00

    22nd August – The Greig Centre, Kinwarton Rd, Alcester, Warwickshire B49 6AD – 2.00-4.00

  15. I’m so glad there are some sessions which do not clash with bed time, 6-8pm is probably the hardest time to get parents of young children out of the house. Presumably we can bring our children to the day time meetings? (as it is the holidays)
    I found the support of the children’s centres to be invaluable when mine were young and their support inspired me to train as an antenatal teacher so I could help other parents on their journey. With all the research into the benefits of a healthy pregnancy, parent support and early interventions showing huge benefits for children (see The Foundation Years: preventing poor children from becoming poor adults – Dec. 2010) I am amazed that the funding for these services is being slowly withdrawn, surely it will cost more in the long run if new parents are left unsupported in the early days.

  16. Several public meetings have now taken place. The notes from these meetings have been added to the post. This enables everyone to see what is being discussed and the issues being raised at these meetings.

  17. For your information please find attached to the above post the notes from the consultation meeting with health on the 12th July.

  18. We have now attached the notes from the meetings in Hatters Space, Nuneaton and Leamington Town Hall.

  19. A new date has been added to the public consultation meetings:
    Tuesday 13th August between 2-4pm at the CHESS Centre, Nuneaton
    See the updated table in the post for all the times, dates and locations for all the public consultation meetings.

  20. Two sets of Frequently Asked Questions have been added to the post – the first document has questions around Children’s Centres themselves and the second set of FAQs are around the consultation proposals.

  21. Notes from the public consultation meeting on 22nd July at Elizabeth House, Stratford-upon-Avon have been added to the post.

  22. The post has been updated above to include a document which summarise the key steps and expected dates in the process to reorganise operation of Children’s Centres.

  23. Notes from the public consultation meeting on 24th July at Shipston High School have been added to the post.

  24. The post has been updated to include the notes from the public consultation event held in Atherstone on 17th July.

  25. Meeting notes from the event at Rugby Town Hall on 31st July are now available.

  26. Annie Parmenter says:

    Stay-at-home mothers, like myself, get little or no help from the government to do such a vital and important job as bringing up our children. We could not manage without the support and use of the children’s centres in our region, including the advice we get from the professionals who run the centres and the activities that they hold for children/families/adults. Please can this not be one more thing the Government takes away from us.

  27. Posted on behalf of the Family and Parenting Support team, Warwickshire County Council

    Thank you Annie for taking the time to contribute to the Children’s Centre consultation . We will ensure that your comments are fed into the responses to the consultation process.

  28. Meeting notes added to the post from Tuesday’s meeting at the CHESS Centre in Nuneaton.

  29. Louise Mackin says:

    The children’s centres provide me with a place to go to meet other mums & my child a place to interact with other children. The groups that they do are fantastic. I have made loads of friends through the centres, friends who I also now see outside the centres too.

  30. Sally Lightfoot says:

    Thank you for your comments. I am glad that you and your child have had the opportunity to attend some fantastic groups and that you have valued the social opportunities that the Children’s Centres provide. These are really important elements of the services that we know are valued highly.
    Thank you.

  31. Sarah Windrum says:

    Having asked every parent I meet to complete the questionnaire, I realised I still needed to do it myself! Completing it this morning, I found there were some leading questions with obvious answers to support the Council’s proposals. For example, the question concerning helping parents in greater need. Of course we all want to help parents and families who have the greatest need but answering Yes to that question does not necessarily mean support for the Council’s current proposals as the right way to do that. Stigmatising parents and making Children’s Centres only for ‘problem’ families is not the way to help. Keeping a universal service through social groups, informal contact, and then inviting those who need additional support gently is the way it is currently done and the way it works most effectively. However, the Council’s proposal will clearly have a huge impact on the universal service and the informal social groups even though there has been ambiguous answers to these questions in the consultation meetings. The consultation document states classes like Baby Massage and Chatter Matters will be targeted (i.e. by invite only) so I have to assume I am responding to this which will mean many of the parents and families most in need will not be brought into the centres in the way they are now and therefore will not be helped most effectively. I don’t believe a ‘Yes’ to the question about helping parents most in need means we support the Council’s proposal to do that by cutting the informal social groups.

    • Sally Lightfoot says:

      Thank you for your comments Sarah. There is no intention that Children’s Centres become a place for “problem families” but that they should focus support and funding for families that are facing challenges at certain points in their lives, which is not the same as being perceived as a problem. We want and expect Children’s Centres to retain some universal services but do acknowledge that there is likely to be less delivery of these types of services when we have less funding.
      Thank you once again for your comments.

  32. Meeting notes have been added to the post above from the meeting on 21st August at the Sydni Centre, Leamington.

  33. Final meeting notes from Alcester on 22nd August added to the post.

  34. Pingback: Update on consultation into early years services | Ask Warwickshire

  35. Pingback: Early Years and Children’s Centres recommendations | Ask Warwickshire

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