Changes ahead as Bucks children centres’ budget cut

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Children’s centres across Bucks are the subject of £400,000 worth of cuts – but council chiefs say retendering contracts for the service will provide better value for money.

The county currently has 28 children’s centres, which support families, and help to identify parents that might need extra help.

They also provide activities and services for over 13,000 children aged up to five, including health and early education.

The council says that changes following the budget cut could include reduced opening hours, changes to activities, and some services being delivered by volunteers instead of staff members.

It also said that some elements of the service may be cancelled if they are not meeting ‘priorities identified for the area, not meeting the needs of children and families in the area and are not valued by users or providing value for money.’

New contracts for the children’s centres, and the short breaks service for disabled people were awarded to the Spurgeons and Action for Children charities.

Spurgeons will run three children’s centres in Aylesbury, while Action for Children will run the other 25.

Zahir Mohammed, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “We’re duty bound to re-tender when the existing contracts end and the existing providers have given an excellent service to our families.

“After a rigorous tendering process, I’m pleased to welcome Spurgeons and Action for Children.”

And this week the council launched We Love Children’s Centres, a celebration in July which will include activities and competitions.

Mr Mohammed added: “If you have never set foot inside your local children’s centre, now is the time to go in, discover what goes on an get involved.”