Hounslow Council’s Cabinet has agreed a new model for delivery of services to under fives in the borough.
Following an extensive 90-day consultation, the restructured services will see:
- The retention of five full time children’s centres
- The sharing of five children’s centres with free childcare
- The handing over of four children’s centres to create additional childcare places
- The closure of four children’s centres
Acting directly on feedback received during the consultation, four changes were made from the initial proposal to the final version of the report. These are:
- Chiswick children’s centre to be shared with childcare, with Duke’s Meadows to now close
- Heston children’s centre to be handed over to Berkeley Primary School, who have agreed to support the delivery of children’s centre services on site
- Bedfont to operate full time as a children’s centre, in direct response to the levels of deprivation in the west locality which as pointed out by those who took part in the consultation.
The consultation process employed a wide variety of methods to gather the views of users and other interested parties – including questionnaires, focus groups held at each children’s centre, drop-in sessions at the civic centre as well as public meetings open to all.
Overall, more than 1400 people provided their views on the proposed new model.
Three sets of petitioners were invited to speak to Cabinet, where they each outlined their reasons for not wanting changes to the Southville, Hounslow Town, Lampton and Feltham Hill children’s centres.
Councillor Tom Bruce, Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, said:
“The consultation was an opportunity to seek and listen to the views of a wide range of parents and carers of under fives, and their feedback was directly reflected in the model presented to cabinet for agreement.
“As a council we have to make a number of difficult decisions because of the significant reduction in our funding from central government, but we are committed to giving under fives the best start in life and have high aspirations for children and their families.
“We fully believe that the new model will increase the availability of free childcare for disadvantaged two year olds and create the opportunity to meet the needs of more three and four year olds in the future, while also providing a full range of services and activities for all under fives.”