Planned closure of Kenilworth children’s centres a ‘total shock’

Shire Hall, where Warwickshire County Council sits
Shire Hall, where Warwickshire County Council sits
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There has been further backlash against plans to close both children’s centres in Kenilworth.

Warwickshire County Council plans to change the 39 current children’s centres in the county into 12 family or community hubs with reduced services.

But no hubs will be in 
Kenilworth, as the two centres in Bertie Road and St John’s Primary School are not likely to be replaced.

Jean Lockley, the chair of the children’s centres advisory board in Kenilworth, said she was ‘totally in shock’ upon hearing the news.

She added: “We knew the budget agreed by the county council was going to mean further cuts to children’s centres.

“But then we saw Kenilworth would not be having any family hubs. We were absolutely devastated.

“Children’s centres allow issues that children might have to be picked up very early to ensure they get the best opportunities later.

“Why does the county council think a town the size of Kenilworth can just be 
ignored?”

Jean, who has been 
involved with children’s centres since the early 2000s, had written to all three county councillors representing Kenilworth - Cllr Alan Cockburn, Cllr John Cooke and Cllr Dave Shilton - about her concerns.

They agreed to raise them with the council’s portfolio holder for children’s services, Cllr Jeff Morgan.

Jean added: “I’m pleased people are taking my requests to have conversations seriously. They appear to be wiling to raise the issues. How successful that will be, I’m not sure.”

Certain Kenilworth town councillors have also voiced concerns about the plans.

Cllr Richard Hales described the closures as a ‘bonkers and outrageous idea’, and Cllr Richard Dickson said the cuts were ‘not welcome’.

The Leader of Warwickshire County Council, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said: “The proposals look at evolving 12 of the 39 centres into family hubs to offer direct targeted support at locations where we have identified the greatest level of need.”

A consultation meeting for the public will be held on Tuesday August 1 in St John’s Church at 7.30pm.

The county council has also launched an online questionnaire as part of the consultation which can be accessed here