"Positive news" as family hub plan in Bassetlaw is given the go-ahead

A children’s centre in Bassetlaw will be transformed into a family hub after plans were give the go-ahead.

By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 13th December 2021, 7:42 pm

Retford Central Children’s Centre, in Spa Lane, will be turned into a space for families with children aged 0-19 and young people up to the age of 25 if they have special educational needs and disabilities.

Councillors voted to approve Nottinghamshire’s first integrated family hub at Notts County Council’s children and young people’s committee today.

Committee chairman, councillor Tracy Taylor said it was “positive news for Retford”.

Retford Central Children’s Centre, in Spa Lane, is to become a family hub.

But one councillor questioned the future of other children’s centres in the county.

The Retford centre is currently used by the maternity service for clinics and for children’s centre family support sessions.

But council documents show that since 2018, the children’s centre service has been “more targeted” whereby workers visit families in their own homes.

Coun Taylor said: “This is a building where we had previously had a children’s centre.

"An early years provider came in and was operating there but was not a viable business going forward.

“Because of Covid we have had maternity services specifically delivered from that building to keep them away from the Retford hospital campus whilst there were risks of infection.

“We have recently been through a full consultation with the local community and stakeholders to establish how they would like that building to be best used to meet their needs.

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“The feedback has been resounding.

"As a Bassetlaw representative, I am very excited that we have a live site about to come forward.”

A consultation found that most people – 70 per cent - preferred that the space could be used for child development, play and early learning, parenting groups, managing children’s behaviour and access to specialist services.

Coun Michelle Welsh said: “I know they are linking up with the maternity services and I think that is absolutely brilliant, I feel passionately about that.

“Will it mean additional services in that area in light of the fact that child poverty is rising, breastfeeding rates are declining and there is significant government data with regards to health issues as well.

“I wonder whether there are plans for additional services at that family hub?”

Coun Steve Carr added: “Whilst Retford Children’s Centre will turn into a family hub which will safeguard its future – what assurances can you give to every other children’s centre in Nottinghamshire that they will be treated the same at Retford?”

Coun Taylor responded: “You’re talking about a specific assurance about all children’s centre buildings.

“You have asked this question previously in a number of different guises and forms. You will get the same answer on each occasion I am sure.

“At any point in time, this council will use its assets in the most appropriate fashion and to meet the needs of service delivery.”

Nine councillors voted in favour of the plans and two abstained.