Children’s centres to stay open and expand

A COMMITMENT has been made by Notts County Council to keep all its children’s centres — including three in Hucknall — open.

Overall it has responsibility for 59 SureStart venues across the county.

The ones in Hucknall are based at the John Godber Centre on Ogle Street, at the Butlers Hill Junior School campus off Broomhill Road and at Annie Holgate Junior School off High Leys Road.

They are aimed at giving disadvantaged youngsters the best start in life by bringing childcare, benefits and employment advice, health guidance and support under one roof.

There were fears that the service in Hucknall and the rest of Nottinghamshire could be hit hard as the council looks to shave more than £180 million from its budgets in the next four years.

But a pledge has been made that SureStart will be preserved — and services will be expanded.

Fresh plans include making each of the centres ‘one-stop shops’ for a whole range of services.

Coun Philip Owen (Con), the county council’s lead member for children and young people’s services, said: “What we are working towards is fewer children in care, better outcomes for our children and a reduced demand for specialist social care.”

In order to deliver the changes, the children’s centres will undergo an audit to detect where services are duplicated and where management roles overlap.

The aim is for the plan to cost no more than SureStart centres already do.

There will be a further review of the centres in a year.