Children’s centres across Bucks may continue to provide services for the next year, it has emerged, in a victorious move for campaigners fighting against the closures.
Last month Bucks County Council announced it had put on hold controversial plans to replace the 35 children’s centres in the county with “hubs” so further consultations could be carried out.
On Friday (April 6) Mapledean Children’s Centre in High Wycombe announced on social media that the centres will continue to deliver services for the next year, in the latest twist of the saga.
The centre wrote: “So that means business as usual at Mapledean. The team would like to thank all of you for all of your recent kind words and support.”
The council had previously announced it would push forward with plans after the initial decision was called in for review by concerned councillors.
BCC confirmed all children’s services “will continue to run as normal”, however remained unclear as to when the new early help scheme, which aims to streamline children’s services, will be implemented.
Cabinet member for children’s services, Warren Whyte, said a new timetable for public consultations to discuss the chance in services will be published “in the next few weeks”.
Cllr Whyte said: “At the recent public meetings it was made clear to us that our residents and volunteer groups want more specific proposals and we have therefore made the decision that we will consult further.
“No public meetings will take place for the time being, and we expect to publicise new dates for these as part of the new consultation process.
“I hope residents and families will feel reassured that we are listening to their concerns and want to work with them to shape the support for families going forward.
“I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm that our current early help service which includes children’s centres, is not as effective as it needs to be in supporting the most vulnerable children and families as early as possible.
“We are committed to developing a new early help service that helps those who need it the most.”