Opening hours at ten Derbyshire children’s centres to be cut

Derbyshire County Council's headquarters.
Derbyshire County Council's headquarters.

Opening hours at ten of Derbyshire’s children’s centres are set to be reduced because of Government cuts.

If approved by cash-strapped Derbyshire County Council at a meeting next Tuesday, children’s centres in Arkwright, Bakewell, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Coton-in-the-Elms, Crich, Killamarsh, Sandiacre, Tupton, West Hallam and Wirksworth will open for two days a week instead of five.

Councillor Jim Coyle, the council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We’re facing budget cuts of £157million by 2018 which is affecting services local people rely on.

“But the Government has left us no choice so we’re having to think the unthinkable.

“What we can do is make sure Derbyshire’s most vulnerable families continue to get the help they need and we are doing our best to mitigate the effect these changes in opening hours will have.”

Earlier this year, following two public consultations, the authority agreed to close Ashbourne and Duffield children’s centres as they were expensive to run and among the least well used.

In addition, services were transferred from Castle Gresley and Langwith.

It is hoped there will be no compulsory staff redundancies as reductions in staffing are expected to be achieved through natural wastage.

Cllr Coyle added: “We’ve asked people to tell us what they want every step of the way and have used this feedback to shape services.

“We’ve thought long and hard about the best way of making the budget reductions we must make while protecting services we are passionate about.”