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Campaigners welcome plans to discuss Bucks children's centre closures

Campaigners fighting the closure of children’s centres across Buckinghamshire have welcomed the decision by Bucks County Council to hold a series of public meetings to discuss the proposals.

Earlier this year, county councillors agreed to reduce the number of children’s centres from 35 into nine hubs.

The council is now in the process of implementing plans to bring these services together, talking with staff and the services involved about how the new service will work.

The next stage involves talking with communities, groups and organisations about the future use of children’s centre buildings to ensure maximum use for children, families or the local community where possible.

Discussions will be taking place over the next six months, with a view to clear proposals in place for the future of each location by July 2018.

Alka Dass, lead campaigner from Save Bucks Children’s Centres said that while she was pleased the cabinet member for children’s services, Cllr Warren Whyte (Con, Buckingham East) had agreed to the meetings and she hopes more times and locations will be made available in a way that would accommodate people that have children.

She added: “We deserve to be part of what is happening and we do not want children’s centres disappearing in the background.

“We will still fight the closures of the children’s centres, but sensible conversations need to take place and smart decisions need to be made. 

Cllr Whyte said: “It’s really important that families know that services won’t just stop.

“Our children’s centres and other support services for families will continue to run to their current timetables until June 2018 and we will keep you informed of what the new service will look like and what will happen after June as we move forward. 

“We know change is unsettling but we also know that we need to do more to support children and families earlier, with a service that is flexible to meet their individual needs.” 

Information about the next stage, public meetings and how to get involved can be found at www.buckscc.gov.uk/earlyhelp

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