Buckingham Town Council: ‘We must not gamble with the lives of our children’

Bucks County Council offices in Aylesbury
Bucks County Council offices in Aylesbury

Buckingham Town Council have voted unanimously to express concerns over the planned closure of Children’s Centres in Bucks and have urged residents to respond to the County Council’s ‘Early Help’ consultation.

This latest motion, proposed by Cllr Robin Stuchbury, was backed by all present members of the council at a full meeting on October 2, and states that the Council demands all planned changes to children’s services must “not gamble with lives of young children.

Councillors aired their doubts over what the implications for vulnerable people reliant on these services will be under the new measures, and suggested that there is ‘no defined delivery vehicle’ in place to implement changes which may see 35 Children’s Centres shuttered in Bucks.

Cllr and youth worker Lisa O’Donoghue said: “We’ve been through a similar consultation for youth centres in the county, where we were asked what services we thought we could provide through youth clubs.”

“This was taken to mean that we wanted to run these services ourselves, and the council made youth workers redundant. It was only because of the efforts of the management committee and Buckingham Town Council that we were able to keep Buckingham’s service going. There is a real concern that they are doing the same thing here.”

“The service provided is not broken, so why try and fix it?”

Warren Whyte, Cabinet member for Children’s Services, reiterated the message to take part before the window closes. He said: “I am pleased that the town council is helping to raise awareness of the county council’s Early Help Consultation.”

“I have been meeting many stakeholders and users of the last few weeks, and the feedback is very helpful to shape the new proposed model. Consultation runs until 16 October, so still time for parents, or parents-to-be, to take part.”

The consultation will remain open for public comment until October 16; to take part head to www.bit.ly/2g9jEsj