Ticket Only Consultation For Children’s Centres

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Children’s Services have announced 6 consultation events where service users can go and have their say on the proposed changes & cuts to the service.

There will be 2 sessions on each of 3 dates with each of the three events being organised to cover a geographical area of the city. Event details are

Stoke Central Locality
Monday 20 June – 10:00 -11:30 and 6:00pm-7:30pm Kings Hall, Stoke-on-Trent
For users of The Hope children’s centre, Thomas Boughey children’s centre, Kingsland children’s centre, Penkhull children’s centre.

Stoke South Locality
Monday 27 June – 10:00-11:30 and 6:00pm-7:30pm Kings Hall, Stoke-on-Trent
For users of The Crescent children’s centre, The Grange children’s centre, Treehouse children’s centre, Westfield children’s centre, Fenton chidlren’s centre, Blurton children’s centre, Trentford children’s centre

Stoke North Locality
Tuesday 28 June – 12:00-1:30pm and 6:00pm-7:30pm Port Vale FC, Burslem
For users of Stoke North children’s centre, Tunstall children’s centre, Ball Green & Norton children’s centre, Burslem children’s centre, Milton & Baddeley Green children’s centre.

All of the events are ticket only, service users who wish to attend one of the consultation events are being asked to pick a ticket up from the children’s centre that they use.

We have previously made the decision to cut Children’s Centres budget by £2.5m in 2011/2012 council budget. We are now moving forward holding these consultation events to hear what the users of this service have to say about reshaping the services across the city. We want to know their views and suggestions on how best to provide services with the reduced resources now available.

Without knowing what is important to parents who use the centres we cannot reshape them for the best solution to best fit their needs but within the limited resources available.

I would encourage any parent who uses the children centres service to go to their local centre and find out when their event is and get a ticket to come and talk to us.

Sources have told Pits n Pots that the decision to make the events ticket only was taken to remove any opportunity for for parents or campaign groups such as SOCC to demonstrate or cause any trouble during the consultation events.

Consultation Started On Children’s Centres Proposed Cuts

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has started consultation on the services that will be delivered by city children’s centres from September.

The consultation was due to run from today until Thursday 30 June, but after being contacted by Pits n Pots about why the consultation document will not be available until the 26 May, the City Council have extended the consultation period until 7 July.

The views of local families, parents, carers, childcare organisations and the wider community on which services are important to local people and those that they would like to see continue. The City Council needs to save around £2.25 million or roughly 30% of the budget allocated to children’s centres.

The council has worked alongside children’s centres, local communities and partner organisations to produce a consultation document. The document will be available from 26 May from children’s centres, the council website and the children’s centres facebook site.

We are eager to seek the views of as many people as possible as to the services they want to see delivered by our children’s centres. We have worked with local people to draw up the consultation, and will be using social media for the first time, to give as many options as possible for people to give their feedback.

It is critical we get as much feedback as we can so that when hard decisions are to be made, they are done so having considered as much information and as many people’s views as possible.

We are committed to continuing to provide children’s centres and view them as integral to improving the life chances for children and families in the city. We now need feedback to help us redesign a sustainable children’s centre service for the future.

Feedback from the consultation will be presented to the council’s cabinet on 28 July. Findings and implications for the services that will be delivered, will be published on the council’s website during August, and will be available from children’s centres across the city.

Pre-Council Meeting Demo ““ A Peaceful Protest

A peaceful protest outside the Civic Centre in Stoke yesterday was a far cry from the scenes witnessed in London.

A group of about 60 turned out in support of the Save Our Children’s Centres group who were protesting at the councils proposals to close 7 of the 16 centres which could potentially realise a saving of £750,000 to the Local Authority.

Over 200 hundred staff have already been told whether their posts have been “Ëœsaved’, “Ëœpooled’ or indeed “Ëœdeleted’ should the council choose to proceed with the proposals.

Council chiefs still insist that no final decisions have been made and that a city wide consultation is still on-going. The final outcome will not be known until the council learn the true extent in the cuts in funding handed down from central government following their recent Comprehensive Spending Review.

Roy Naylor, the former City Independent Councillor now Non-Aligned, is fighting the Group’s cause within the civic and was in attendance to lend his support at the protest yesterday [Thursday]. He gave us an Audio Interview which can be heard below this article.

Millissa Beydilli from Blurton is the Leader of the Save Our Children Centres Campaign explained why it is vital that these centres are saved from closure and how they have been a lifeline for so many families across the city’s communities. Listen to the Audio Interview below.
Council Leader Cllr Mohammed Pervez met with the campaigners along with several cabinet members and received a 6,500 strong petition against the closure proposals.

There was also a small group of students protesting outside the Civic. They were expressing their opposition to the rise in tuition fees and against cuts in services generally.

The North Staffs Pensioners Convention were also in attendance protesting against any cuts which will impact upon the elderly.

National Award For Stoke Speaks Out

Stoke Speaks Out, which helps younger children with language and speech problems and which is currently under threat of closure as part of the £33m savings package, has won the Workforce Development Award at the Children and Young People Now Awards in London.

The awards ceremony which was attended by Education Secretary Michael Gove who said in his keynote address,

Gathered in this room are some of the some of the most inspiring, idealistic and impressive people in the country. The job that I do at the heart of government is made not just easier but possible by the efforts that all of you, and those that you work with, put in to raise attainment and aspiration and to lift the hearts of children across the country.

The City Council which is led by the Labour party, are currently consulting with the public about the proposed £33m savings that need to be made. The savings package includes proposals for Stoke Speaks Out as well as a number of childrens centres to be closed.

These awards recognise the excellent work being carried out throughout our children’s services and I would like to congratulate all those who won and were nominated. Helping our young people, in whatever way, is extremely important and these events help to highlight the valuable contributions made by the numerous groups and individuals involved in children’s services.

How do you feel about this important and now award winning resource being potentially closed?

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Embark On City Bus Tour to Consult On Cuts

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Cabinet Members today [Saturday] embarked on the first of a series of bus tours across the whole 6 Towns to gauge public opinion regarding the recent announcement of severe cuts.

It was unlike the bus trips I made as a kid from Abbey Hulton Suburban Club to destinations like Blackpool, Rhyl and Southport, this trip was organised by our city council to listen to the concerns of citizens in light of the recent announcement that up to £33million cuts could be made from the local authority budget.

Cabinet Members Tom Reynolds, Sarah Hill, Kieran Clarke and Debra Gratton met in Stoke Town this morning to listen to public concerns and to learn what services are most important and what facilities are most revered by the citizens of the city.

The possible closure of 7 of the 16 children’s centres featured high on the list of concerned residents, along with the end of the Stoke Speaks Out Project and the possible loss of the City Farm.

It was clear listening to the views of many residents visiting Stoke Town and attending the Fenton Manor Leisure Centre, that the public blame the Coalition Government for the hard times to come as opposed to Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

High rates of unemployment and changes to the benefit system also worried a n umber of people keen to put their points across to the Cabinet Members in attendance.

The £33million of budget savings left some residents concerned to the level of services that the City Council would be able to deliver as well as the ongoing programme of cuts in the years to come.

We have a number of Audio Interviews for you to listen to with members of the public and the cabinet members in attendance.

The wheels of the bus went round an round and went on it’s way up to the City Centre for even more public consultation in the afternoon as a part of the Council’s “ËœLets’s Talk’ initiative.

If you have a specific are of concern or simply want to have your say on the proposed cuts, you can email letstalk@stoke.gov.uk or visit the website at www.stoke.gov.uk/letstalk

You can also text the Let’s Talk Team on 07766 200700, start your message with “letstalk”

New Sure Start Centre To Open

Parents and carers of children up to five years old are being invited to find out what’s on offer at a new Sure Start Children’s Centre opening in Stoke-on-Trent later this month.

The Grange Sure Start Children’s Centre in Meir will be holding a special open day on April 20th for people to come along and talk to staff about the range of services on offer. These include a crèche, midwife support, health visitors, family support and training opportunities. Staff will be on hand to talk to visitors from 09:15 until 5pm.

Centre manager Tracy Jackson, who is also the head of the nearby Crescent Children’s Centre said, ‘This will be an additional facility for parents and carers in the Meir area, Meir Park and Sandon and will enable families to benefit from a wide range of services. I would encourage anyone with younger children living in the area to come along and have a general chat and a cup of tea and we can give them the low-down on what a Sure Start centre is all about.’

The centre, in the grounds of Grange Primary School in Normacot Grange Road, Meir (to the rear of Grange Nursery School off Harrowby Road), will start operating some of its services from April 26. Services will be available between 9am until 3pm Monday to Friday.