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New Addington children's services set for a shake-up

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CHILDREN'S centre services are to be provided from new locations around the estate following a local school's decision to decommission its own centre.

The council is now looking at new venues after Castle Hill School governors decided the school did not want to run a children's centre on behalf of the local authority, but it could still be used as a venue for the services.

Parents have been invited to a meeting on June 17 to discuss possible new venues for the activities for under-fives and their families, including Good Shepherd and Applegarth primary schools and Goldcrest Youth Centre.

The council has stressed services will continue at Castle Hill, which became an academy last November, although it is unclear at this stage exactly what.

A council spokesman said: "The Castle Hill governing body has decided that it doesn't want a designated children's centre but this does not mean that children's centre services will cease.

"Subject to co-operation from the school, the collaboration would like to use Castle Hill, alongside a wide range of other venues, as access points from which to deliver children's centre services.

"In reality this should mean that more families access services and have greater choice of service, place and time."

Castle Hill governor Simon Hall said they decided last year "the school needed to focus on its main activity and therefore did not wish to run a children's centre."

He added: "But they made clear that facilities at the school could still be used for services."

Parents have been invited to meetings on Tuesday, June 17, at Goldcrest Youth Centre at 9.30am and 1.30pm, to discuss a proposed list of services and venues from September, and any other suggestions.

One mum told the Advertiser many parents feared loss of services at Castle Hill, adding: "Some parents will use it however many times they can get down there.

"To get them out into the community, for some it is the only thing [some] parents have the confidence to go to."

More than a quarter (28 per cent) of 1,995 children attending the area's four children's centres went to Castle Hill, according to council figures.

The council spokesman added the idea was to give parents more choice, saying: "The intention is to make available as many services as possible from as many different venues as possible."

New Addington children's services set for a shake-up


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