Back to the drawing board in children centre cuts for Haworth and Silsden

Back to the drawing board in children centre cuts for Haworth and Silsden

Back to the drawing board in children centre cuts for Haworth and Silsden

First published in News

Council bosses are going back to the drawing board over controversial cuts to children’s centres, including Haworth and Silsden.

Bradford Council said it would explore alternative plans suggested by campaigners, but warned savings would still have to be found.

Campaigners had put forward “very creative and useful ideas” for saving money during public consultations, children’s services boss Councillor Ralph Berry told a meeting of the council’s ruling executive on Tuesday.

He said a £3 million one-off handout from the Schools Forum would in effect buy the centres a 12-month reprieve to explore these ideas in full.

Coun Berry added: “The money gives us time to do things in a much more careful way.”

He said local schools could play a greater role in running the children’s centres and shaping their services.

He stressed the Schools Forum money was a one-off for 2014-15, and savings would still have to be made the year after.

Bradford Council had proposed to save £2.4 million between 2014 and 2016 by dividing the centres into three types – core centres run as at present, satellite centres staffed part-time and outreach bases run by volunteers.

Daisy Chain in Silsden and Treetops in Haworth would have been outreach bases. Campaigners from Haworth spoke out at the meeting to urge a rethink.

The Rev Chris Upton, campaigning on behalf of Treetops, played an answer machine message, saying that would be all that would greet parents if the changes went ahead.

After the meeting, Haworth Parish Council chairman Councillor John Huxley welcomed the news.

He said: “I would hope it would give us time to get round the table and talk about what happens after the 12 months.

“The building is connected to Haworth Primary School and that opens up some possibilities, but it’s early days yet.”

Silsden mayor Councillor Chris Atkinson hopes the Schools Forum’s funding will encourage townspeople to support the Daisy Chain children’s centre.

He said: “If the community wants the centre then the community will have to come forward – not just parents, the whole community needs to get behind it.”

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