Concern over Children Centres
Southport Liberal Democrat councillors have expressed grave concern over Sefton Council’s proposal to combine the work of Children Centres with Talbot Street Family Centre.
“This plan by Sefton Council is fraught with potential problems and is very worrying because these two centres fulfil different roles for the benefit of children and families and to amalgamate them can only have a negative impact,” said Councillor Pat Keith, a member of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Children’s Services and safeguarding)
“The Family Centre is a statutory service where 90% of the work is commissioned by social services or the courts. it is legal and binding and the families who are referred there need a high level of support.
“ On the other hand, families voluntarily attend Linaker Street and Councillor Fred Weavers and I heard first- hand accounts from parents about how the services, training and support they receive at the centre have prevented their problems from mounting and spiralling to the point where they would require further costly services.
“ Councillor Weavers and I attended a vocal and impassioned meeting of the parents and carers who use Linaker Children’s Centre and outlined the great support they receive.”
Kate Hannon, Who chaired the parents’ group meeting said: “ This centre is a lifeline for parents and children. I don’t think people fully understand the huge range of services and preventative work that is undertaken.
“For instance, right from the ante- natal stage the staff here provide a family approach to dealing with mental health. At a time when the Children’s Mental Health services in Sefton are at breaking point this is a vital piece of preventative work and closing centres is extremely short-sighted. This will simply store up huge problems for the future.”
Councillor Weavers expressed concern about the funding and said “ At present Linaker children centre provides a large pot of funding to Linaker Primary School with the proposed closure of the centre this funding would cease. What then will the impact? It’s very likely that teaching staff will teaching be lost.
“These are the unanswered questions. The entire consultation lacks transparency and detail and that’s a very worrying factor.”