Proposals to cut children’s centre drop-in sessions

County Hall Lewes, East Sussex County Council HQ SUS-150925-134850001
County Hall Lewes, East Sussex County Council HQ SUS-150925-134850001

The council is proposing to axe drop-in sessions at the county’s children’s centres.

As part of a bid to make savings, East Sussex County Council will no longer staff drop in sessions open to all families and instead offer the space and equipment for volunteer-led groups to use free of charge.

The local authority says greater focus will be placed on the important contact all families have with health visitors at five key points during a child’s development, and supporting families who most need it.

The emphasis on these services follows the Government decision to move the responsibility of health visiting services from the NHS to local authorities.

Sylvia Tidy, the county council’s lead member children and families, said: “Over the next three years the county council will have to make savings of up to £90million, meaning less money to spend on services.

“We need to make sure that we use our limited resources to offer the help and support to those families with the greatest need.

“While the way we deliver services will change, we are keen to look at how the facilities and equipment might continue to be used by families.”

The proposed changes would contribute to the savings target of £4.6million for early years help for 0-19 year olds.

A consultation, which runs from Monday, November 16 to Friday, December 18, invites residents to give their thoughts on which elements of council support are most needed, how the existing activities might be run by volunteers, and any other views on the proposed changes.

Feedback can be given online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/childrenscentrechanges, or by visiting posting comments at a local children’s centre.

A number of consultant sessions are set to take place over the next few weeks:

* Shinewater Children’s Centre Parent Engagement (November 25)

* The Bridge Children’s Centre Parent Engagement, Hastings (November 26)

* Hastings Children’s Centre Stakeholder and Partners Engagement (November 27)

* Hailsham Children’s Centre Stakeholder and Partners Engagement (November 27)

* Lewes Children’s Centre Parent Engagement (November 30)

* High Weald Children’s Centre Parent Engagement (December 1)

* Sidley Children’s Centre Parent Engagement (December 2)

* Peacehaven Children’s Centre Stakeholder and Partners Engagement (December 3)

* Sidley Children’s Centre Stakeholder and Partners Engagement (December 3)

* St Leonards Children’s Centre Parent Engagement (December 4)

* Egerton Park Children’s Centre Parent Engagement Event (December 8)

* Seaford Children’s Centre Parent Engagement (December 9)

* Crowborough Children’s Centre Parent Engagement (December 10)

* Devonshire Children’s Centre Parent Engagement (December 11)

* Hailsham Children’s Centre Parent Engagement (December 14)

* Rye Children’s Centre Parent Engagement (December 15)

* Peacehaven Children’s Centre Parent Engagement (December 16)

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