Consultation on future of Haverhill children’s centre

On Track children's centre - Haverhill ANL-140608-110157001
On Track children's centre - Haverhill ANL-140608-110157001

Members of the public will have the opportunity to have their say as Suffolk County Council looks to cut £2.9 million from children’s centres in the county.

Haverhill’s Cartwheels children’s centre on Norton Road will not be affected by the cuts. The future of the On Track children’s centre on Strasbourg Square, however, is less certain.

Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We want the precious resources we direct towards early years care to be focused as much as possible on the services that will make a difference, and not on buildings.

“Like many people up and down the county, we strongly value the good work carried out by our children’s centres and the services they provide.

“However, we believe that more can be done to ensure that these services are as effective as they can be and reaching all those who would benefit.”

Money saving measures could see the children’s centres being merged, with the Cartwheels centre taking on the extra children. Services may also be delivered directly to people’s homes.

“We are committed to keeping our children’s services,” said a spokesman for Suffolk County Council.

“We just need to look at the proportion of people using each centre.”

Opposition to the closure of the On Track centre has already been voiced by Councillor Tony Brown and Councillor Ann Gower, with concerns being raised over the distance attendees of the On Track centre may have to travel to attend the Cartwheels centre.

Opinion, however, is divided. Councillor Gordon Cox said: “When the On Track centre first opened, the community lost a shop. It used to be a news agents. It’s making sense of the resources. What they do there can be done in the Cartwheels centre or in other community centres.”

The twelve week consultation will run until October 16, with any changes expected to be in place by April 2015. Members of the public should visit to provide their views on potential changes.