Concerns over possible changes at Kenilworth children's centre in September

Changes could be coming to St John's Children's Centre in September
Changes could be coming to St John's Children's Centre in September

Concerns have been raised over possible changes to the services being provided from a children's centre in Kenilworth this September.

Warwickshire County Council voted to close 25 children's centres across the county in November 2017 to save £1.12 million, including the centres at St John's and Bertie Road in Kenilworth. The changes took effect in April 2018.

But the council also agreed to keep services running at St John's in a one-year 'transition period' while it worked out how it could deliver a good service to residents.

However, a joint notice was put up at St John's by the council and children's charity Barnardo's - who help provide services - which said the availability of services 'may change' in September 2018.

The notice also said the council was talking to the centre to see how services could be delivered differently.

This worried the Kenilworth and Southam Liberal Democrats, who felt the council had gone back on its promise.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Kenilworth resident Andrew Milton said: "The statement appears to run completely contrary to the earlier commitment from the county council that services in Kenilworth would continue until 2019.

"It seems the council has not ensured the services operated by Barnardo's in Kenilworth have been ringfenced and protected by any changes introduced by Barnardo's.

"The council's commitment to the children's centre is about far more than just the building. It's about the range and quantity of services provided for local families.

"There should be no backtracking on the decision to maintain these services at the same level during the transition period."

A council spokesman said it was 'difficult to be specific' about the changes coming in September.

He added: "These changes should not result in any family in need missing out on essential service access and each centre affected by changes during the transition period will signpost local people to alternative support."

When asked to clarify the nature of the 'transition year' for St John's, the spokesman said it lasted until March 2019, and was confident of finding a solution.

He continued: "In Kenilworth, we have been working with St John's School since December 2017 to explore potential options which would enable the site to deliver services to children and families.

"Discussions are ongoing but we are confident that a positive solution can be found that will see a continuance of services from the site."