Child Centres Swing Into Action

A new service being launched next month across Mid-Devon will provide a wide range of services for almost 3,000 children under five and their families.

The new Children’s Centres, providing a wide range of health, social care and education facilities under one umbrella are the result of an £8 million cash injection from Devon County Council to provide services across Devon to some 22,000 children.

Executive member for children’s services councillor John Smith said: “Every community in Devon should have access to a children’s centre, which will be the focus of a wide range of children’s services.

“We are transforming the way services are delivered to children and their families, by establishing these hubs which focus on the many different needs of each child. This enables us to ensure the highest quality, most cost effective services are delivered by all the agencies involved, working in partnership.”

Tiverton children’s centre will be based across several sites at Wilcombe School, Sunningmead Community Centre and Two Moors School, and will cover the wards of Lowman, Cranmore, Castle, Westexe, and Clare and Shuttern.

The headteacher of Wilcombe School, Gary Chown, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to offer integrated services to families and children from the earliest stage of their lives.”

Cllr Des Hannon said: “I’m delighted that what Tiverton parents say they want has been given the top priority from the start. I’ve been on the steering group from the kick-off and helped choose the best people to run our centre alongside other local parents.

“Barnardo’s will do a great job. They’ll make sure that this will be our centre, always tailored to what Tiverton wants. This is only the start of a better deal for our youngsters, but it’s an important step along the road. As a local parent I couldn’t be happier.”

Culm Valley children’s centre will be based on St Andrew’s School site and will cover the wards Cullompton North, Cullompton Outer, Cullompton South and Upper Culm.

Crediton area children’s centre will be based on Queen Elizabeth Upper School’s site and will cover the wards Boniface, Lawrence, Newbrooke and Yeo.

Crediton’s County Councillor Nick Way said: “This marks a real step forward for children’s services in the Crediton area. Children centres successfully assist with the development of young children, providing extra support for their parents at the same time. This has great benefits for the well-being of the whole community.”

Barnardo’s will shortly become responsible for co-ordinating and delivering the services.

Heather Colbeck from Barnardos SW said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work alongside all the families and other groups in these areas. We will be listening to what parents and carers tell us is important to them, shaping what’s already available, and creating new services to help young children and their families.”