Still no answers over future of Warren Park children’s centre

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PARENTS say they are still in the dark about the future of a vital children’s centre – days before the contract to run it is passed to a new organisation.

It was revealed last month that Park Futures, the charity which runs the Warren Park children’s centre, had lost a bid to continue running it.

It will be taken over by Action for Children and is to be merged with centres in West Leigh and Leigh Park.

But with four days to go a lease on the current building in Sandleford Road has not been signed.

Parents have now discovered that speech and language therapy, creche facilities, child behaviour therapy, maths and literacy courses and children’s meals and fruit subsidies will not be offered by Action for Children,

Campaigner Emma Moonan, 31, said: ‘I can’t believe we’re at this stage and we’re still in the dark.

‘They take over on Friday but haven’t told us what services will be available here.

‘We keep hearing a lot of “we hope for business as usual” but that’s no good to us if they don’t tell us what is happening.

‘We know there is money available from Hampshire County Council for speech and language therapy but it won’t be given from here so where will it be given? What about children who are halfway through treatment?’

Miss Moonan has called a meeting for 1pm tomorrow at the children’s centre where the county council will update parents on the position.

Councillor Roy Perry, responsible for children’s services at Hampshire, said he was hopeful that core services will be provided at the centre.

In a statement Emma Horne, operational director of children’s services at Action for Children, added: ‘Negotiations are underway about the use of the Park Futures building for children’s centre services. It is Action for Children’s absolute priority to ensure services continue at Park Futures to meet the needs of local families in Warren Park.

‘We are committed to protecting core services as agreed with Hampshire County Council and working in partnership with the council and other providers to ensure this transition is as smooth as possible. We would like to reassure families that they should see very little change in the services available to them.’