Restructured Children’s Centre Service Launched

A NEWLY restructured Children’s Centre service comes into operation this week with changes to services and where they are delivered.

The revised provision offers universal health and maternity services and targeted support for parents at four Children’s Centre hubs and a number of satellite buildings.

The remodelling of the Children’s Centre services came about following an extensive public consultation on the proposed changes.

The Council listened to concerns from respondents that most first-time parents are vulnerable and in need of support and revised plans to ensure that support is offered to all new parents and babies up to the age of 1-year.

All families will still be able to receive universal services such as ante-natal care, health checks and clinics and low-level parenting advice up to the age of five, which will help early identification of vulnerable families who may require further support.

Targeted group support, such as parenting courses and housing and employment advice, will also be available, as well as more intensive one-to-one support where required.

The Council is commissioning a new service from Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust which will be responsible for delivering the Healthy Child Programme for 0 – 19 years which combines health, education and early help services.

The Council is also keen to build on partnerships with Reading’s voluntary sector to continue providing a wide range of universal activities.

The four children’s centre hubs are located at Sun Street Youth & Community building in east Reading; Southcote Youth & Community Centre; Ranikhet Children’s Centre in Tilehurst and Whitley Youth Centre.

Universal and targeted services are also being delivered from a variety of sites across the borough, such as Caversham Children’s Centre and Coley Children’s Centre.

Children’s Centre staff have been keeping parents informed of the changes after they were agreed by the Council back in June.

Savings of £400,000 had to be found by the Children’s Centre service by 2018/19, as agreed by the Policy Committee in July 2016, due to the Council facing considerable budget pressures and increased demands on services.

Cllr Jan Gavin, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Children’s Services, said:

“The restructure of our Children’s Centre services will ensure we are delivering high quality services to the families who need them most.

“We listened to what people said in the public consultation about the restructure and have responded accordingly by ensuring universal services continue to be offered to new parents.

“Reading families will be able to continue accessing services that will help and support the development of their children during the early years and dedicated staff will be on-site to provide them with the quality service they deserve.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

Details of what Reading Children’s Centre Services offer can be found at: http://servicesguide.reading.gov.uk/kb5/reading/directory/service.page?id=_wxh0rAmXto

The June ACE committee report on the Children’s Centre remodelling and consultation can be found at: http://www.reading.gov.uk/article/10534/Adult-Social-Care-Childrens-Services–Education-Committee-6-JUN-2017