The consultation on Children's Services

Sadly, the Tories on the County Council voted Labour down and passed the cuts to children's services.

 

UPDATE 12-10-17

COME TO THE demonstration, it will be at 0930 am on Tuesday 17th October at the Shire Hall, Castle Hill, Cambridge.

 

 

Romsey Labour Party delivered a leaflet to every home in Romsey asking people to fill in the questionnaire on children's services; we also held two stalls outside the Coop talking to people about our campaign to keep Romsey Mill as a centre for children's services.  The County Council received over 2000 comments on their proposals and we are sure our efforts were in part responsible for such a huge response.  As a result the County Council have decided that this matter is too serious for the sub committee on children's services and will be taking the debate to full council on the 17th October.

We are yet to hear if the demonstration planned for the 10th will now be moved to the 17th.  Watch this space!

 

 

1st September

We held another street stall outside the Coop at 1100 today to highlight the County Council's questionnaire on children's services.

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Daniel Zeichner MP joins Labour Councillors in fighting threats to ‘vital’ Children’s Centres

Labour's Sure Start initiative - a programme that brought hope, knowledge and resources to children and parents, recognising early years are crucial in ending disadvantage and inequality – is at risk from a threatened £1,000,000 cut to the Children’s Centres from the Tory-run County Council.  Labour County Councillors have come together with Daniel Zeichner MP to fight this. 

On 17 July, the County Council launched a consultation on the future of children’s centres across Cambridgeshire which would see three-quarters of its current centres facing the axe, including four in Cambridge. 

In Cambridge City the proposals would mean the loss of four current children’s centres at Romsey Mill, Fawcett, Homerton and Cherry Hinton.  Some wards in Cambridge are amongst the most deprived in the County and the proportion of children assessed as achieving a good level of development at the end of their Reception Year - seen as a key indicator for school readiness - is lower in Cambridge compared to most other areas of the County.

The Tories propose making £1m cuts in children’s centre services by using ‘flexible’ and ‘pop-up’ services in libraries and private homes in place of the dedicated and successful Sure Start children’s centres created by the Labour government.

At a public meeting held last Saturday (26 August) at Chesterton Community College the fight-back began with the launch of the County Labour Group’s campaign to 'Save Our Children's Centres'.

Daniel Zeichner MP joined Councillor Claire Richards (Castle), Councillor Jocelynne Scutt (Arbury ) and Councillor Elisa Meschini (King’s Hedges) to listen to residents’ concerns about the proposed changes.

Councillor Richards said: “These proposals would see the number of children’s centres across the county slashed to just a quarter of existing provision with four being lost in Cambridge.  The County Council’s own data shows how valued these centres are as places where young families can come together to access support services, improve their knowledge of parenting and help children develop their confidence and learning.  If we are serious about tackling inequality between the children of families in the greatest need and their peers and improving child and family health  we have to maintain our centres and not cloak closures under the pretence of remodelling and ‘pop up’ provision.”

Daniel Zeichner MP added: “Children’s Centres are a vital source of advice and practical support for families, especially disadvantaged families.  For all the government’s rhetoric on improving the life chances of all our children, no matter their background, the reality is that national spending cuts of almost 50% since 2010 have already meant the closure of hundreds of children’s centres and some services reduced to a skeleton level.”

The County Council consultation runs until Friday 22 September and details, together with the County’s data briefing, can be found here:  https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/children-and-families/children-s-centres/children-s-centres-consultation/

Further public meetings are planned, including one in Cherry Hinton on 2nd September led by Labour’s Councillor Sandra Crawford.  This will be at Cherry Hinton Library Hub from 2.00pm to 3.00pm.

This is an appeal to all Camaraderie readers to show your support for Children’s Centre services one of the Labour government’s proudest achievements.  Please help us to protest against these closures by responding to the consultation questionnaire (details above).

 

11th August Update

Romsey Mill are holding a number of consultations the dates and times that can be found here https://www.facebook.com/romseymillandcherryhintonchildrenscentre/photos/a.541878546001495.1073741828.541843396005010/733040356885312/?type=3&theater

 

 

The County Council are seeking to save a further £1 million on Children's Services in the next financial year - this comes on the heels of a £1.55 million cut in the last 3 years.

Romsey_Mill.jpg

As a lead into the cuts the County Council are making, they are holding a consultation on a re-arrangement and reduction of Children's Centres throughout the county.  The County and City Labour Party are opposing this change and are supported by Daniel Zeichner (our Labour MP).

 

5th August 

Romsey Labour organised an information stall outside the Coop on Saturday 5th August to highlight what was happening.

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We also were handing out leaflets with the link to the consultation    

Part of this reduction in Children's Centres will mean Romsey Mill will no longer be a venue for County Council Services and there is every likelihood that Romsey Mill's team will no longer deliver the service that they have provided.  Many residents of Romsey and the wider city are more than aware of the excellence service that the team from Romsey Mill have provided and have been in touch with us to ask what can be done.

We are asking everyone to read the consultation document https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/news/consultation-starts-on-children-s-centre-proposals/

romsey_mill_table2.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then we hope people will complete the actual consultation  

As a means of alerting people to the potential outcome of this consultation, I am asking if in reality this is 'a consultation on 'Children's Centres' or is this taking place as a cover to cut services?  I am doing this because people are questioning if the County Council will use this consultation to actually cut the service that is currently provided and not just the centres where services are being delivered.

One potential answer to that question is "Yes," because it seems unlikely that the County Council can save the £1 million they are planning to save from Children's Services if they don't cut services?

What I find amazing is that the proposal claims it will 'create family friendly services in the heart of the community'.  What I ask is Romsey Mill doing at present?  The services they provide are at the heart of our community and they are family friendly.  

One user of Romsey Mill has said the following:

“When I had my first child I didn’t have any parent friends and I felt so isolated. It was suggested that I visited the local children’s centre and that was where I found my community.

“It was a real safety net for me and I don’t know what I would have done without it".

Here in Romsey we will be campaigning against the proposed cuts to services and this page will be updated as we develop our strategy.  In the meantime you may wish to complete the consultation 

We are about to start a campaign in Romsey to defend children’s services, and because it is Romsey Mill we have a responsibility to represent an institution that may operate county wide but has its home is here in Romsey.

Some facts about Romsey Mill.

Romsey Mill’s Children’s Centre and staff have been contracted by the County Council to deliver support & services for families since 2008: the current contract ends on 31st March 2018.

Romsey Mill are also contracted to deliver services and support for Cherry Hinton Children’s Centre, but the majority of the staff are seconded from the County Council: the current contract ends on 31st March 2018. 

Romsey Mill are also contracted by the County Council to deliver Teenage Parents Support across the whole of Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire and this is funded via Children’s Centre’s: the current contract ends on 31st March 2018. 

No discussion took place with Romsey Mill about the current proposals or the consultation that was agreed by Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children’s & Young Committee on 11th July and went live on the 18th.

There is confusion about the relevance and accuracy of data and information and it is argued that some of this is misleading.

Romsey Mill are arguing that it is detrimental to the wellbeing of children and families to make further cuts to the funding of services to support the most vulnerable families in Cambridgeshire. 

Romsey Mill also recognises the current provision is preventative and that if early intervention is lost this will inevitably cost the County Council, and wider society, much more money as problems intensify and escalate and safeguarding, social care, police and health services are required to intercede later.

 

The County Council are seeking to save a further £1 million on Children's Services in the next financial year - this comes on the heels of a £1.55 million cut in the last 3 years.

As a lead in to the cuts the County Council are making they are holding a consultation on a re-arrangement and reduction of Children's Centres throughout the county.  The County and City Labour Party are opposing this change and are supported by Daniel Zeichner (our Labour MP).

 

Part of this reduction in Children's Centres will mean Romsey Mill will no longer be a venue for County Council Services and there is every likelihood that Romsey Mill's team will no longer deliver the service that they have provided.  Many residents of Romsey and the wider city are more than aware of the excellence service that the team from Romsey Mill have provided and have been in touch with us to ask what can be done.

Romsey_Mill.jpg

 

Well first, we are asking everyone to read the consultation document https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/news/consultation-starts-on-children-s-centre-proposals/

And then we hope people will complete the actual consultation  

As a means of alerting people to the potential outcome of this consultation, I am asking if in reality this is 'a consultation on 'Children's Centres' or is this taking place as a cover to cut services?  I am doing this because people are questioning if the County Council will use this consultation to actually cut the service that is currently provided and not just the centres where services are being delivered.

One potential answer to that question is "Yes," because it seems unlikely that the County Council can save the £1 million they are planning to save from Children's Services if they don't cut services?

What I find amazing is that the proposal claims it will 'create family friendly services in the heart of the community'.  What I ask is Romsey Mill doing at present?  The services they provide are at the heart of our community and they are family friendly.  

One user of Romsey Mill has said the following:

“When I had my first child I didn’t have any parent friends and I felt so isolated. It was suggested that I visited the local children’s centre and that was where I found my community.

“It was a real safety net for me and I don’t know what I would have done without it".

Here in Romsey we will be campaigning against the proposed cuts to services and this page will be updated as we develop our strategy.  In the meantime you may wish to complete the consultation 

We are about to start a campaign in Romsey to defend children’s services, and because it is Romsey Mill we have a responsibility to represent an institution that may operate county wide but has its home is here in Romsey.

Some facts about Romsey Mill.

Romsey Mill’s Children’s Centre and staff have been contracted by the County Council to deliver support & services for families since 2008: the current contract ends on 31st March 2018.

Romsey Mill are also contracted to deliver services and support for Cherry Hinton Children’s Centre, but the majority of the staff are seconded from the County Council: the current contract ends on 31st March 2018. 

Romsey Mill are also contracted by the County Council to deliver Teenage Parents Support across the whole of Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire and this is funded via Children’s Centre’s: the current contract ends on 31st March 2018. 

No discussion took place with Romsey Mill about the current proposals or the consultation that was agreed by Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children’s & Young Committee on 11th July and went live on the 18th.

There is confusion about the relevance and accuracy of data and information and it is argued that some of this is misleading.

Romsey Mill are arguing that it is detrimental to the wellbeing of children and families to make further cuts to the funding of services to support the most vulnerable families in Cambridgeshire. 

Romsey Mill also recognises the current provision is preventative and that if early intervention is lost this will inevitably cost the County Council, and wider society, much more money as problems intensify and escalate and safeguarding, social care, police and health services are required to intercede later.

One Mother has this to say about Romsey Mill Children's Services

“I first visited Romsey Mill when I was 17, and pregnant with my first child. I started antenatal there and it was a lifeline, I had no idea what to expect when I fell pregnant. I had no friends with children and was on my own. I learnt most of the things I know from Romsey Mill. The group was friendly and helpful. I was very isolated and had post natal depression and this was a huge lifeline. They would pick me up and take us to group. The family workers helped me no end with various things , benefits , housing, relationships , other organisations. I then went on to have a second child and stayed on at Romsey Mill by doing courses , such as maths , English , first aid etc . It was a great help for my confidence and to gain some kind of education whilst having free childcare . I also kept and made a lot of friends.”

 

 

 See what the Cambridge News has to say: 

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/i-dont-know-what-would-13350311

Decisions relating to the final proposals for Children’s Centre Services will be taken by the Children and Young People Committee meets in the autumn. 

To protect services currently being offered 2 children by  please fill in questionnaire 

Taken from the County Council's website https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/news/consultation-starts-on-children-s-centre-proposals/ 

A consultation to redesign Children’s Centre Services has gone live, which aims to ensure every child thrives in Cambridgeshire. 

Families can read more about the consultation here and share their views.

The wide ranging plans, from Cambridgeshire County Council, propose to create ‘family friendly’ services in the heart of communities. It builds on the current offer, offering support to families of all ages, from expectant parents to young adults. The proposals look to deliver the same level of services in a more local way, so those families can access them easily.

The new children centre services will be more flexible and tailored for each community delivered in places they know or already use, and in doing so, the Council will make savings of £1 million.

The proposals will also see Children’s Centres work more closely with parents and health professionals to provide a set of integrated services that seamlessly support communities. This service could include health visitors, midwifery and speech therapists. The new approach includes:

  • 10 Child and Family Centres, delivered across 15 buildings, that will continue to offer services in places of high need with extended opening hours, with skilled staff able to meet families needs
  • 12 Child and Family Zones - these willuse community spaces, such as libraries and community centres, to deliver a range of services, including baby and toddler groups, activities for families with disabilities and places for community groups to meet. A video of a Child and Family zone can be seen here
  • Outreach Programme – The Child and Family Centres workforce will deliver support across a range of community venues so families, particularly in rural locations, can access a regular programme of services and responsive support.
  • Online Offer – there will be a comprehensive online offer to provide information and advice to help and support families

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, said: “The welfare of families across Cambridgeshire is our top priority. They have told us that Children Centre Services are not always in places where they are needed most.  We want to change this to ensure we have the right services, support and opportunities available for families if and when they need us.

“This is the right time to be setting out our proposals as we need to make sure that these key services are able to meet the challenges of the future. However, we cannot shape these services without your views. Local people are the experts on their communities and know what is needed where they live. Whatever your views, we would welcome your feedback by inviting you to take part in our consultation.”

The consultation ends on 22 September 2017. Hard copy versions of the consultation can be found at Children Centres and Libraries. Frontline staff will also be at a range of events across the summer. Details of these events can be found on the consultation.

Website content can be translated for speakers of other language using the inbuilt google translate function. We can provide versions of the consultation in other languages and braille on request.  Please contact ask.childrenscentres@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

Decisions relating to the final proposals for Children’s Centre Services will be taken by the Children and Young People Committee meets in the autumn. 

 

Meanwhile Labour and Jeremy Corbin are offering this

 

 

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