Bourne Children’s Centre could be closed in face of cuts

Bourne Sure-Start Centre, in Queen's Road, Bourne
Bourne Sure-Start Centre, in Queen's Road, Bourne

The Sure Start Children’s Centre in Bourne is one of 15 centres in the county which could be closed as part of local authority cuts.

Lincolnshire County Council needs to save £42 million over the next year and has proposed to cut funding to children’s centres. It says 15 centres are affected out of a total of 48 in the county.

An online petition has already attracted more than 1,500 signatures calling for the county council to reconsider its proposal to close the ‘phase 3’ centres.

The petition has been started on by Helena Mair of Lincoln. She says: “They are an essential support network in promoting child development and school readiness in more disadvantaged families.”

The Bourne centre said it did not wish to comment at the moment.

The centre, located next to the town’s leisure centre, hosts groups for toddlers, babies and parents, holds courses for parents and provides a range of support services.

Coun Patricia Bradwell, Executive Councillor for Children’s Services, said: “As the council has to find around £42m of savings next year alone, all service areas are seeing budget reductions for next year and beyond.

“As a result there are currently proposals for the reduction of funding for children’s centres. If this is accepted then one of the options to be considered is to close phase 3 centres, which wouldn’t affect those families and children in our most deprived communities, where there is a real need for support. This and any other options would need to go out to statutory consultation.”

The council will make its budget cut decisions on Friday, February 19.

Do you use the centre? What do you think of the proposals? Tell us your views by e-mailing the newsdesk