Warren Park children’s centre future is secured

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A VITAL children’s centre has been saved for at least another year.

Parents who attend the Park Families children’s centre in Warren Park were told six weeks ago it was at risk in a major shake-up which saw it being taken over by the charity Action for Children and merged with children’s centres in Leigh Park and West Leigh.

There were fears services such as speech and language therapy and the creche would be lost and a campaign was set up by parents to save it.

But with only days until the new contract begins on Monday, they have been reassured the building will stay open and services are not at risk.

Parents were told the good news at a meeting with Hampshire County Council’s Janet Hoff, the children’s centre and inclusion manager, at the centre yesterday.

She said: ‘It will be different – but we’re going to try and make it as seamless for you as it possibly can be.

‘From our perspective, you can access the same services as normal and Action for Children will be in here from Monday delivering the same services from this centre.’

The complication was that the county council does not own the Park Families building and could not include it when the contract to run the children’s centres went out to tender last year.

An agreement has now been reached with Park Families charity to allow Action for Children to use the building.

The services at risk included healthy eating subsidies and behaviour management, which have all been secured for the next 12 months.

Mum-of-three Emma Moonan, who led the campaign, said: ‘I’m relieved but I wish it hadn’t come to this in the first place.’