Residents have just a few days left to give their views on controversial plans to shut scores of children’s centres in Derbyshire.
A total of 32 of the centres are earmarked for closure by Derbyshire County Council (DCC) – which is having to deal with huge Government cuts.
A public consultation on the contentious proposals ends on Monday.
Once the consultation has ended all the responses will be looked at and a report will be considered by councillors in the summer.
Councillor Jim Coyle, DCC’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We have had almost 900 responses to our consultation so far and I’d like to thank people for taking part.
“There’s still time for Derbyshire families to have a say.
“We will make every effort to ensure that those families most in need receive services and will work with the voluntary sector to provide others.”
Centres facing the axe are Crich, Belper, Blackwell, Whaley Thorns, Arkwright, Dronfield, Clowne, Bakewell, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Harpur Hill, Wirksworth, Coton-in-the-Elms, Etwall, Long Eaton (rural), Sandiacre, West Hallam, Somercotes, Chesterfield town centre (Queen’s Park), Brimington, Newhall, Stonebroom, South Normanton, Ripley, Hasland, Brampton, Clay Cross, Tupton, New Mills, Killamarsh, Kirk Hallam, Eckington and Gamesley
If the plans go ahead, 116 workers could be affected.
A council spokesman added: “Although 32 centres could be closed, our review would also look at how some of these services could continue to be offered more effectively in the local community by working with health, schools and voluntary organisations.
“Under the proposals, 19 children’s centres in some of the county’s most deprived areas would remain open. These are Staveley, Cotmanhay, Birdholme, Bolsover, Shirebrook, Holme Hall, North Wingfield, Matlock, Ironville, Langley Mill, Long Eaton (urban), Woodville, Fairfield, Alfreton, Heanor, Glossop, Hadfield, Creswell, Old Whittington. Services at Kirk Hallam children’s centre would relocate to Charnos Family Support Centre and staff from Newhall and Sandiacre would be retained to offer services from nearby centres.”
The council needs to cut £70million from its budget over the next two years as a result of Government austerity. It has already made £170m of savings since 2010.
The spokesman said: “By 2020, the funding the council gets from central Government is expected to be more than a third less than in 2010.
“Despite selling off land and buildings, reducing back office costs and cutting the number of senior managers, the extent of the cuts means the council must consider scaling back most of its services.”
Children’s centres provide a number of services, including childcare, early education and child and family health support.