Dinnington: Children’s Centre saved from being axed

Dinnington Children's Centre
Dinnington Children's Centre

Dinnington Children’s Centre has been saved after councillors agreed that it should not be axed.

The Sure Start Centre, on School Street, was one of three children’s centres - along with Wath Victoria and Park View - that avoided closure after Rotherham Council’s Cabinet decided they should remain open for business last week.

A total of 12 centres have now been saved including in Arnold, Aughton, Coleridge, Maltby Stepping Stones, Rawmarsh, Rotherham Central, Swinton Brookfield, Thrybergh Dalton and Valley.

However, ten centres across Rotherham will still be closed.

The cost of retaining these three additional centres will cost £350,000 on top of the £2.025 million budget for the other nine.

Coun Mahroof Hussain, Cabinet Member for Communities and Cohesion, said: “On average, three centres are closing each week across the country.”

“This council values children’s centres and in an ideal world we would not want to be in this situation.”

Members heard that 14 public meetings were held during the consultation period together with meetings with union representatives, head teachers, health partners and parish councillors.

A total of four petitions were received and a total of 1,746 people responded to the on-line survey questionnaire.

Coun Roger Stone, leader of Rotherham Council, said: “After the meeting that in retaining three additional centres, the authority had listened to the public.”

He added: “The Government withdrew its funding for children’s centres two years ago but Rotherham kept ours open and found the funding.”

“Unfortunately, we can no longer afford to keep them all open. However, where centres do close, children and families will receive an outreach service from the authority.”

The authority received over a hundred expressions of interest in taking on a building or day care provision and these will be explored by the authority during a formal application process that will be held in July.