Children’s centres in Huntingdonshire to be lost in county council shake-up

Shire Hall, Cambridge.

Shire Hall, Cambridge. - Credit: Archant

The number of children’s centres across the Huntingdonshire district are set to be cut by Cambridgeshire County Council after a major shake-up of services.

The authority will reduce the present 10 sites to seven, with two centres each in Huntingdon and St Neots and zones in Ramsey, St Ives and Sawtry set to stay, but others will be “redesignated”, including Farcet, Godmanchester, Brampton and Somersham.

The authority has agreed to reduce the number of premises used from 38 to 27 across the county as a whole.

It set out to save £1 million by changing services, but agreed to put £100,000 of the money back in, during a process in which feelings of service users ran high.

The proposals were approved by a full meeting of the county council last week which said it wanted to create a more flexible, targeted and responsive service for young people.

During a 10-week consultation process, 2,280 people took part, the biggest response the authority had ever seen.

As a result the plans now include more outreach services and the redesignated Huntingdonshire sites will include outreach services.

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Councillor Simon Bywater, chairman of the children’s committee, said: “We have listened carefully to what people have been saying during the consultation and I want to reassure people we will continue to listen as we begin to implement these proposals.”

He said feelings had been running high but urged everyone to come together to take the plans forward.

In Huntingdonshire the county said outreach services would be a key part of its services in the rural parts of the district, especially in the north.

It said space available at buildings in Huntingdon and St Neots meant services would be operated from two sites in each town.

In Godmanchester and Brampton the authority is exploring future community use of the spaces and at Somersham it will be working with the school and preschool to agree future usage of the building for families.

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