Survey will look at children’s centres

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Children’s centre services could be reshaped in Longbenton as part of a review.

A six-week consultation has begun and North Tyneside Council is inviting families to share their views and help design the new-look service.

The proposals include plans to move services from the existing Longbenton Children’s Centre at Chesters Avenue and instead deliver them from a wider variety of local community settings, which could include Balliol Primary School, the Balliol Centre and the Oxford Centre.

Future activities and services in the Longbenton area could include health visiting, job clubs, stay and play sessions, healthy eating activities, midwifery services, accident prevention, first aid, family learning and more. Sessions could also be delivered in the evening or at weekends.

More information and consultation forms are available from Longbenton Children’s Centre or online at www.northtyneside.gov.uk

Users are also invited to attend a drop-in-session on Thursday, October 2, from 10am to 11.30am at the Oxford Centre, Longbenton, or on October 3, from 3.30pm to 5pm, at Balliol Primary School.

The consultation ends on Friday, October 24.

Jean Griffiths, head of children, young people and learning, said: “We need to make sure that our children’s centre services in Longbenton are available to all families who wish to access them, but at the same time we need to ensure they are reaching our most vulnerable children.”

“This consultation aims to make sure we have a fit-for-purpose and sustainable children’s centre service for the future.

“With rising demands for services, but reduced resources, we must make sure that as well as providing a universal service, we focus our work where it’s needed most.”

Earlier this year, the council carried out a consultation on the majority of its borough-wide Children’s Centre services.

As a result of that consultation, the council is now re-shaping its provision, to focus it around four ‘Children’s Centre hubs’ at Howdon, Riverside, Shiremoor and Wallsend.

In addition, school-based children’s centres at Whitley Bay, Cullercoats, Fordley, Battle Hill and New York will deliver a wider range of services such as childcare for two-year-olds, holiday activities and playgroups.

As part of the new-look service, staff including health visitors and housing officers will work directly with families who did not previously use children centre services, and local parents could be actively involved in supporting families to find the help they need.