East Sussex County Council is to slash £2.6 million from family services and close childcare centres under a stripped-back strategy for vulnerable residents.
The changes to the council’s early help funding was approved by East Sussex County Council’s lead member for children and families, Sylvia Tipping, yesterday (October, 7).
The changes could force ten children’s centres to close, including services at Seaford, Ringmer and Battle by April 2020, unless alternative providers can be found.
Cllr Tidy said demand for services was rising, while government funding had gone down.
“We need to make sure we use our increasingly limited resources where they can have the greatest impact.”
Her decision has come under fire from county and Rother District councillors and residents, who want it referred to the full council.
LibDem spokesman Alan Shuttleworth said it was “an attack on the most vulnerable people”.
“There is no doubt that implementing these recommendations will leave the most vulnerable families, children and young people in greater need [and] will end up costing the authority more money.”
The council will also close East Sussex’s only two county-operated nurseries.
The authority has agreed to keep Bexhill’s Cygnets and Rainbow daycare centres open until September next year, but was unable to guarantee their future if new providers could not be found.
Campaigner and parent Niki Collins said the decision to shutdown the Bexhill nurseries was devastating.
“The fact that they are willing to let them go, without even taking it to a full council meeting, just goes to show that our youngest generation and the parents supporting them are their lowest priority.”
(By Huw Oxburgh – Local Democracy Reporter)