Redbridge Council are consulting about the future of their Children's Centres. They say:
The Council currently operates 21 Children’s Centres across the borough. There are 8 main hub centres which are open and accessible all day Monday to Friday and 13 smaller centres which are open on an ‘as and when’ basis to allow for certain services and activities to be delivered. The take up rates for Children’s Centre services in Redbridge continues to be high. The most recent access data shows that between August 2017 and August 2018, Redbridge Children’s Centres were used by almost 25,000 young children and their families accessing universal services and a further 18,000 children accessing targeted activities.
Despite significant budget pressures the Council has managed to retain a borough-wide universal service, free at the point of access, for much longer than many other boroughs.
The budget challenges faced by the Council over the next 3-5 years means that the current model of service provision is unaffordable. In addition, there is a need to further increase in the proportion of take up and access from targeted families in the more disadvantaged areas of the borough.
The funding shortfall is around £650,000, which is 30 percent of the current budget. For more information and to respond, see the Council website.
Last autumn the Council announced that it was working towards UNICEF accreditation as a child-friendly borough.