WHICH CHILDREN’S CENTRES ARE STAYING OPEN AND WHICH ARE CLOSING?
The centres proposed to remain open are: Broxtowe, Hyson Green, Meadows and Southglade (Bestwood/Top Valley)
The centres proposed for closure, unless another provider can be found, are: Aspley (Amesbury Circus), Aspley (Minver Crescent), Bilborough, Bulwell and Sneinton
WHY IS THE COUNCIL REDUCING THE AMOUNT OF CHILDREN’S CENTRES IN NOTTINGHAM?
The Council does not want to reduce services, but the budget proposals have been made in response to a number of factors including the continued reduction in central Government funding for the Council, the unmet costs of Covid spending, and the increased demand and cost of statutory services including Children and Adults Social Care services.
WHAT CONSULTATION HAS ALREADY TAKEN PLACE AND WHAT WAS THE RESULT?
Proposals for the new arrangements for Children’s Centres and the new citywide Early Help offer went through a first phase of consultation in late 2021, as part of the 2022-26 Medium Term Financial Plan budget consultation. The initial proposal was for three centres to remain open and six to close, with service provision in the affected areas moved to a new model of mobile team working in communities, known as the citywide Early Help offer. As a result of the first phase consultation process, the proposal has been amended to retain an additional centre, meaning four council-operated centres will now remain open. We also received positive feedback from providers and schools about their willingness to take on and run some of the centres proposed for closure.
The second phase consultation on the proposals will run from 28th February to 22nd April 2022, giving parents, carers and providers affected by the proposals a chance to have their say, via a combination of online survey and in-person engagement events. It is important to note that these plans for Children’s Centres remain proposals and not decisions. We are still at a formative stage, and proposals may change as a result of the consultation process.
HOW HAVE YOU DECIDED WHICH CHILDREN’S CENTRES SHOULD STAY OPEN AND WHICH SHOULD CLOSE?
We have looked very carefully at a number of different factors to come to this difficult decision:
- Making sure our remaining centres are in parts of the city with the highest level of need, based on the level of referrals to social care
- Thinking about what we need for the future and making sure people like the Health Service can deliver their work alongside us
- Ensuring a high level of the city population can access a centre within 30 minutes via public transport. (Under this model, 82% can.)
- Ensuring many of the city population are within a 20-minute walk of a centre. (Under this model, 32% are.)
- For likely future service users, based on social care referrals, our analysis shows that 86% of the population are within 30 mins via public transport and 43% within a 20-minute walk of a centre
- Analysis of accessibility by ethnicity, based on social care referrals, shows some minor decrease for BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic) communities in terms of accessibility via public transport, and an increase for BAME communities in access in terms of walk-in access
Figure 1: Areas of High Need (Referrals to Children’s Social Care) (2021)
WHAT DOES THE CITYWIDE EARLY HELP OFFER LOOK LIKE?
The citywide Early Help offer will be delivered through a hub and spoke model, including face to face sessions delivered both within the remaining Children’s Centres and also in community venues across the city. There will be an increase in delivery of services via virtual media for families who choose to access services this way.
The remaining four Children’s Centres will continue to offer a base for our partners to deliver a range of services for children and families, with a focus on children aged 0-5 years. In addition to services available at Broxtowe, Hyson Green, Meadows and Southglade centres, a new citywide Early Help offer will pick up on the needs of families affected by the closure of a Children’s Centre in their immediate area, and who are unable for any reason to access services at one of the remaining centres.
Universal services available will include midwifery, 0-19 Public Health Nursing service, day care provision and community services, while targeted services will include Early Help, CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services), Parenting, Behavioural and Emotional Health and Healthy Little Minds service. Meanwhile Early Help teams will focus on brief family and child development assessments, and group sessions supporting child development, parenting and healthy relationships. The service will use a blended approach involving both face-to-face and virtual contact, to make sure we are engaging with those unable to access the physical facilities. We will also deliver services from community venues.
We are currently negotiating with education, community and voluntary partners to use different sites across the city, to support families who can’t get to one of our remaining centres, or who can’t access services online. Virtual services will also play a role. We have learnt a lot from the experiences of Covid, and we want to develop our services so that people can access them remotely via online and telephone, to further ensure equity of access.
IS THERE A WAY OF KEEPING MORE CENTRES OPEN?
We are keen to talk to any organisation, school or community group that would like to run a Children’s Centre in our place. This could enable us to use our resources to keep more Children’s Centres open.
During this consultation we will be talking to potential partners about how they can take on the running of a Children’s Centre. The Council does not intend to sell any of the Children’s Centres proposed for closure if alternative running arrangements can be agreed, so the opportunity is there for someone else to run them in our place.
If you would like to discuss this opportunity further, in the first instance please contact Julia Bramble at email@example.com
HOW DO I HAVE MY SAY ON THE PROPOSALS?
More details about the proposals, including the link to the survey, can be found HERE
The link to the engagement event programme is HERE
For any queries about the consultation process please contact firstname.lastname@example.org