Kent County Council confirms closure of 12 children’s centres

Kent County Council has confirmed that the axe will fall on twelve of the county’s children’s centres and further twenty see their hours cut.

For those that will close, services currently delivered will be switch instead to alternative local venues such as village halls and community centres.

The plans, which will come into effect by April 2014, will see 85 children’s centres remain across the county.

Jenny Whittle, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I would like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation. Despite the difficult decisions which have been made, we have found a solution which means we will still be able to deliver effective, quality services to the families who really need them across Kent.”

The five centres that will remain in their current form are: St Mary’s in Faversham, New Romney, Folkestone Early Years, Temple Hill in Dartford and Woodgrove in Sittingbourne.

The 12 children’s centres which will close are:

Cherry Blossom in Wye, Squirrel Lodge in Furley Park, Ashford, Little Bees in Littlebourne, Daisy Chains in Meopham, Little Painters in Painters Ash, Loose, Dunton Green, Merry-Go-Round in Westerham, Hadlow, Larkfield, Pembury and Primrose in North Deal. KCC is exploring the possibility of retaining buildings at Loose, Dunton Green and Hadlow to deliver outreach services in the area.

The 19 centres which will have reduced hours are:

Samphire in Dover, West Kingsdown, Dymchurch, Hawkinge and Rural, Hythe Bay, Lydd’le Stars in Lydd, Beaches in Leysdown, Lilypad in Minster, Birchington, Callis Grange in Broadstairs, Garlinge in Margate, Harmony in Rusthall, Maypole in Dartford (previously proposed for closure), The Village in Folkestone (previously proposed for closure), Swalecliffe in Whitstable (previously proposed for closure), Briary in Herne Bay (previously proposed for closure), Apple Tree in Chartham (previously proposed for closure), Marden (previously proposed for closure) and Tina Rintoul in Hersden (previously proposed for closure).

The Daisy will merge with the Buttercup Centre in Dover and alternative outreach accommodation will be found to replace the Daisy.