Join the conversation about the redesign of services for children and families in Warwickshire

A Warwickshire County Council consultation asking residents to give their views on how it reshapes services for children and families reaches the halfway point this week.

People who use children’s centres or have an interest in early years are urged to find out more and take part in the consultation online or by arranging an informal meeting to find out more.

The council is proposing that services currently provided through children’s centres are offered in different ways so it can use its decreasing resources in the most effective way to deliver the right support at the right time to the people who need it most.

The council is keen to work with families, professionals and communities to provide an even wider range of services than are currently available at children’s centres. One of the proposals is to do some of this through family hubs which will provide key services for children and young people up age 19 (25 with additional needs) and families from one place.

The proposals put forward in this consultation only concern buildings currently used as children’s centres and will not affect pre-schools, libraries or other linked buildings. However, the council is interested in hearing from other organisations and community groups about how services for under-5s could be delivered and their future location.

The consultation process involved a number of public meetings at locations around the county. These meetings conclude on 3 August, but the council wants to widen the opportunity for people to have a say, particularly parents and carers of small children who may not have previously used children’s centres or those for whom English is not their first language.

To arrange a face to face meeting, drop-in session or group talk people are invited to contact the team involved in the consultation on 01926 742350. Views need to be made by 11 September to be included in the consultation.

The consultation document and a link to the online survey is available at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/familyhubsconsultation. The webpage also has information to help people understand more about the proposals and address any misunderstandings around the process and purpose of the consultation.

The consultation builds on extensive research undertaken by Smart Start, Warwickshire’s strategy to give children the best start in life. A link to more information about the programme, its aims and findings are also available on this page or by going to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/smartstart.

Cllr Jeff Morgan, portfolio holder for Children’s Services, said:

“This consultation is about reshaping the services that we provide through children’s centres with partners in health and other organisations so that they may become more cost-effective, sustainable, focused on the children who most need support and provided as early as possible.

“We will need look at offering some of those services in different ways from how they have traditionally been delivered and in ways that address the varied and evolving needs of Warwickshire families.

“To do this we need our residents’ help so I urge people to take part. We are committed to listening to ideas and developing conversations so I hope everyone with an interest in these services, even those who have not used children’s centres before, will get involved.

“We are very happy to share information and there are various means for residents to learn more about our proposals as well as give their views.”

The consultation is live until 11 September at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/familyhubsconsultation.

To request a paper copy or make an appointment to speak to an officer, call 01926 742350. Emails can be sent to familyhubs@warwickshire.gov.uk

Find out more about Children’s Centres in Warwickshire: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/childrenscentres