Mayor welcomes decision to retain two children’s centres in town

Councillor Derek Giles

Councillor Derek Giles - Credit: Archant

Children’s centres in St Neots are an “investment for the future”, a councillor has said.

County councillor Derek Giles welcomed a decision by Cambridgeshire County Council which would keep the two St Neots centres open.

The future of the county’s centres had been under threat as the cash-strapped authority set out to save £1 million by major changes to the structure of the service which supports families.

It decided to reduce or redesignate a number of centres, but two will be retained in both St Neots and Huntingdon and £100,000 of the proposed £1m cut will be put back into the service.

Cllr Giles said: “Cllr Simone Taylor and I fought very hard for these very important centres to remain open and it was accepted. “We are a growing town and we do not want to lose facilities which are needed now, not just in the future.”

Cllr Giles said: “They offer help and support to all families. They are important because they offer continuity and help and support family life.

“It is a long-term investment in people and if anyone has a problem it is easier to nip it in the bug as a child rather than when they are young adults.”

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Cllr Giles also welcomed the retention of the two centres in Huntingdon.

The council agreed to reduce the number of premises from 38 to 27 across the county.

The authority said just under £66,000 of the £100,000 which had been retained would go back into the pot for delivery of front line services and the rest would go towards management, business support building and infrastructure costs of the Children’s Centre service.

Work is continuing on where the money will be spent, but plans include 10 extra apprenticeships, more flexible use of staff in a new outreach approach and more targeted support for vulnerable families, especially in the north of the county.