The plans aim to safeguard the services provided to young children and their families by the city's 17 children's centres in the face of Government funding cuts.
Drawn up by the children's centres themselves in partnership with the council, the proposals would mean 12 of the 17 centres continue to be separately registered and offer a full range of services to children and their families. The remaining five centres would continue to deliver a significant range of services, though some would operate slightly reduced opening hours.
A six-week period of consultation got underway earlier this month and, as part of this, service users have been invited to a series of drop-in sessions - each of which will start with a short presentation - which have been arranged at children's centres around the city. They are as follows:
- Wednesday 22 May, 1pm to 6pm, Whitmore Reans Children's Centre
- Thursday 23 May, 10.30am to 11.30am, Bingley Children's Centre
- Friday 24 May, 10.30am to 1.30pm, Windsor Children's Centre
- Thursday 30 May, 1pm to 3pm, The Berries Children's Centre
- Friday 31 May, 2pm to 4pm, The Parks Children's Centre
- Tuesday 4 June, 10.30am to 12.30pm, Star Children's Centre
- Tuesday 4 June, 1pm to 4pm, St Martin's Children's Centre
- Tuesday 4 June, 5pm to 7pm, The Children's Village
- Wednesday 5 June, 9am to 11am, The Children's Village
- Wednesday 5 June, 11.30am to 1.30pm, The Dove Children's Centre
- Wednesday 5 June, 1.30pm to 3pm, Eastfield Children's Centre
- Thursday 6 June, 10am to 12pm, Sunbeam Children's Centre
- Friday 7 June, 11am to 1.30pm, Low Hill Children's Centre
- Monday 3 June, 1.30pm to 3.30pm, Bushbury Triangle Children's Centre
- Friday 7 June, 2pm to 4pm, All Saints Children's Centre
A number of other drop-in sessions are also being organised, and anyone who cannot attend these specific events can find out more about the proposals and have their say by visiting Type=links;Linkid=1678;Title=Children Centres Consultation;Target=_blank;, emailing email@example.com, calling 01902 551464 or writing to: Children's Centres Consultation, Children's Commissioning Team, First Floor, Civic Centre, St Peter's Square, Wolverhampton WV1 1RR. The consultation closes on 18 June, 2013.
The proposals were drawn up following a reduction in the Early Intervention Grant the city council receives from the Government. It is used to fund the centres but is being reduced by nearly a third - or £3.88m - over the next two years. Though some of this shortfall has been met, councillors agreed to make savings of £1.5 million per year from the service.
Rob Willoughby, Wolverhampton City Council's Assistant Director for Community Services, said: "These proposals make it possible for the children's centre service to make the required savings primarily by streamlining management and administration costs and reducing premises costs.
"We are confident that, if the new structure is agreed, children and their families will be able to expect a similar level of service to the one they currently receive. For most areas, their services will remain unchanged."
Children's centres provide a range of services and activities aimed at expectant and new parents, including baby clinics, stay and play sessions, baby massage and parenting classes. They also host midwifery and health visitor services, offering advice on a range of subjects such as breastfeeding, healthy eating and stopping smoking.
- released: Wednesday 22 May, 2013