Parents call for more services at Warren Park children’s centre

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PARENTS will today urge a children’s charity to bring services back to a children’s centre.

Action for Children took over the running of the centre, based at Park Families, in Warren Park, last April.

The service was previously run by Park Families – which still holds the leasehold to the building.

Emma Moonan, the chairman of the community forum for the centre, said last April they were promised by Action for Children it would be ‘business as usual’ with the same services offered for the next year – but some services were dropped.

Now Miss Moonan, a mum who has used the centre for several years, said she wants to know what services will be on offer from April, so that parents know where they stand.

She said: ‘What is really worrying is that there is less footfall now. I think that’s down to a rumour last year that the centre was closing – it hasn’t.

‘But there is concern that some services have stopped.

‘For example we no longer have literacy and numeracy classes because they are offered elsewhere in Leigh Park, at the Dickinson Centre.

‘The problem there is they do not offer a crèche which means parents with pre-school children can’t access that service.

‘There are lots of parents like me who don’t have family to help.

‘It means there is a catch 22 situation unless the classes come back to Warren Park where there is a creche.’

Miss Moonan feels more resources are being put into Sharps Copse Children’s Centre, in West Leigh, which parents without transport find very difficult to get to.

She said: ‘The parenting courses which used to be offered to everyone are now only offered to people who receive outreach services.

‘There were two excellent groups, Fun with Parents and Supporting Parents of Teenagers.

‘The lady who ran it was unable to continue and she hasn’t been replaced.’

Sarah Lamburne, the chief executive of Park Families, which previously ran the centre and still runs the nursery, respite service and creche, said she also had concerns.

She said: ‘There is a lack of parenting courses and general groups.

‘Access to getting on to groups has been difficult.

‘Parents are concerned about it but they are hoping 
to hear good news at the meeting from Action for Children.’

The meeting is 10am at Park Families, Sandleford Road, Warren Park.

Action for Children did not respond to a request from The News for a comment but a source said front-line services have been increased and targeted at families who are most vulnerable.