Cumbria’s 28 children’s centres saved from closure

Cumbria will keep all of its 28 Sure Start children’s centres, the county council has confirmed. Sure Start centres across the country are under threat of closure after the coalition government cut grants to local authorities for children’s services.

But Cumbria County Council has revealed it has renewed contracts with Barnado’s, Action for Children and the Howgill Family Centre to keep every one of the county’s centres open for at least the next three years.

The centres provide support and information for parents and prospective parents.

The new contracts state their remit will now expand to include help for young people up to the age of 19.

Anne Burns, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for children’s social care, said: “Sure Start children’s centres provide a vital service for children and parents right around Cumbria and I’m delighted we’ll continue working in partnership with Barnardo’s, Action for Children and Howgill Family Centre to make a difference to the lives of children, young people and their families.

“At a time when other local authorities are cutting funding to Sure Start children’s centres the re-tendering of these three-year contracts clearly shows our commitment to getting the best for children, young people and families.”

Under the new agreements, Barnardos will run centres in: West Allerdale; North Allerdale; Carlisle West (Newtown); Carlisle West (Morton); Carlisle South (Petteril Bank); Carlisle South (Botcherby); Carlisle North; Carlisle Rural; North Eden; South Eden; West South Lakeland; Kendal West; East South Lakeland; and Lakes.

Action for Children will operate centres at: Workington; Distington; Derwent Valley; Greengate; Newbarns; Bram Longstaffe; Hindpool; Dalton; Millom; and Ulverston.

And Howgill Family Centre will take responsibility for sites at: Whitehaven North; Whitehaven South; Egremont; and North East Copeland.

Barnardo’s assistant director for Cumbria, Richard Simpson, said: “We are delighted that the county council has accepted our tender and invited us to continue to provide our existing centres. We look forward to building on our past success in providing quality services to children and their families.”