September 29th, 2016

Coventry Council to approve consultation into libraries and childrens’ centres axe

Coventry Council to approve consultation into libraries and childrens’ centres axe Coventry Council to approve consultation into libraries and childrens’ centres axe
Coventry Observer Newspaper
Updated: 4:31 pm, Aug 25, 2016

COVENTRY councillors are being urged to approve a formal consultation into controversial Council plans to axe libraries, youth clubs and children’s centres across the city.

The proposals, which would save £3.8 million a year, would see ten libraries close if community groups do not step in to run them; the closure of six council-run children’s centres; the end of council-run nursery provision unless private nursery providers take them off the council’s hands; and the loss of 14 council-run youth clubs.

It is expected that around 100 full-time members of staff could lose their jobs – 30 from libraries, 22 in children’s centres, 33 in nurseries and 12 in youth services.

Now, following a period of informal engagement, councillors are being encouraged to give the green light to a formal consultation into the plans this autumn.

Since the proposals were first announced in July, organisations, residents and community groups have voiced their concern at the proposals.

Other communities – including Cheylesmore – have seen residents coming forward offering to run the under-threat services to save them from the Council cuts.

Coun Kevin Maton, cabinet member for education said that the current delivery of services was unsustainable and argued the proposals were in response to Government cuts which have seen Coventry Council stripped of £95 million a year in Westminster funding.

He said: “We have already given a lot of time and thought on the future of these important services and we genuinely want to find a way forward where we can work with community volunteers, and other agencies.

“Government spending cuts are leaving us no option around making savings, but we are taking the time to make a considered decision.

“That’s why there continues to be so much public engagement.

“Many, many people care about these services and we need to find a solution.”

If confirmed by councillors, the consultation period will begin on September 12 and close on December 12.

A final decision on cuts to children’s centres, libraries and youth services will be made in the beginning of 2017.

Libraries across the city have been divided into three categories – ‘Core libraries’, ‘Partnership libraries’ and ‘Community-led libraries or closures’.

‘Community-led libraries’ are under the greatest threat of closure if no community organisations come forward to run them.

They are:

* Caludon Castle School in Wyken

* Cheylesmore

* Coundon

*Finham

*Earlsdon

‘Partnership libraries’, will see retention of the library or relocation of it into buildings alongside community organisations and other services such as adult education and food banks. They would have a reduced budget and more self-service, though they could also close if no community organisations or volunteers step in to help.

These are:

* Aldermoor

* Allesley Park

* Canley

* Hillfields

* Jubillee Crescent

‘Core libraries’ are safe from closure but would have operate with more a more self-service approach and on a reduced budget.

These are:

* Central library

* Bell Green

* Foleshill

* Stoke

* Tile Hill

Children’s centres and youth services will also be amalgamated into eight so-called ‘family hubs’ for the city’s most vulnerable 0-19-year-olds at:

* Bell Green

* Foleshill

* Tile Hill

* Radford

* Moat House

* Middle Rise

* Gosford Park

* Hillfields

However, there may not be nursery provision in the hubs if no school or Private Voluntary Independent (PVI) Nursery providers step in to run them– meaning they simply become centres providing advice and support services.

Children’s centre provision will be stopped at:

* Barley Lea in Stoke Aldermoor

* Canley

* St Augustines in Radford

* Stoke Heath

* Richard Lee in Wyken

* Spon Gate in Spon End

ALL council-run youth clubs and provisions for young people across Coventry which anyone can attend and which are not specialist will stop.

These are:

* African Caribbean Centre for Young People

* Hillfields Young People’s Centre

* Jardine Crescent Young People’s Centre

* On Target Youth Centre

* People’s Place

* Stoke Park Youth Centre

* Whoberley Youth Centre

* Wood End Youth Centre

And the youth clubs run at:

* Bell Green Community Centre

* Cheylesmore Community Centre

* Hagard Community Centre

* Henley Green Community Centre

* Jubilee Crescent Community Centre

* Stoke Heath Community Centre

* Xcel Leisure Centre

* Baginton Fields School

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