Derby

Derbyshire County Council to axe 29 children's centres to save £4.5m

Children's centres
Image caption The county council will shut 29 centres to save money but a further 22 will remain open across Derbyshire

A cash-strapped county council has voted to close 29 children's centres despite opposition from people who use them.

Labour-run Derbyshire County Council said it will keep 22 of the centres open, but will save more than £4.5m through the cuts.

The equivalent of about 100 full-time posts will be lost.

A report on the closures said the main aim is to keep centres open "where there is the most need".

'Sad day'

Councillor Jim Coyle said: "It is purely financial, we just don't have the money to keep them open.

"Unfortunately it is a very sad day."

The centres offer a range of services including health, parenting and family support, early education and childcare.

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The report said the services "can be delivered effectively without the extent of the current network of children's centre buildings".

"By removing building related costs, such as utility charges, cleaning and leasing, the budget can be directed to the families who are most in need."

Some of the locations that will close are in Crich, Belper, Dronfield, Bakewell, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Sandiacre, Chesterfield Town Centre, Ripley and Clay Cross.

Among the centres that will stay open are those in Bolsover and Matlock and Long Eaton.

More than 1,260 people gave their thoughts on the council's plans to close the children's centres.

Many who responded to the county's consultation said they would have to travel further to access services.

Derbyshire Community Health Services said it would "detrimentally affect the health and wellbeing of both current and future generations of children and young people across Derbyshire

Save Belper Children's Centre group said it was worried that "many vulnerable families will be left without support".

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