Open access children’s services to continue at 34 buildings

Start-up funding for 12 more community schemes to run open access services at children’s centres has been approved by Oxfordshire County Council.

The proposals, which will receive a total of £305,883, are among the latest to be considered as part of the transition from council-funded to community-led services at children’s centre locations.

Community services will complement the council’s new service for 0-19 year-olds, which will meet the needs and aspirations of children at risk of abuse and neglect in Oxfordshire, and ensure that families who need extra help are identified at an early stage.

Total adds up – and more to come

When added to previously considered applications, the approval of these 12 schemes means funded plans are now in place for services such as ‘stay and play’ to continue at 18 children’s centres, with business cases at a further six centres supported in principle but deferred to the final round of the Transition Fund for more work.

Added to this, open access sessions will also continue at the eight Children and Family Centres and two satellite centres at the heart of the council’s new Children’s Service.

In total, it means a combination of council-funded and community-led solutions for open access services are now confirmed or supported in principle at 34 buildings across the county – with more to come when applications for the final round of transition funding are considered.

Fantastic response

Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Family Services Melinda Tilley said: “The response of local communities has been fantastic, and we are well on the way to seeing solutions in place at the vast majority of children’s centre locations. It has never been the council’s intention to close children’s centres – quite the opposite in fact.

“I suspect many people didn’t think this was possible, but we now have the makings of a truly countywide distribution of locations where ‘drop-in’ children’s services will continue to operate. I look forward to these schemes getting up and running as soon as possible, as I’m sure do many families across Oxfordshire.”

List of applicants / children’s centres to receive second round transition funding:

  • Ace Centre Charity (Ace Centre, Chipping Norton): £29.983
  • Barton Community Association (Barton EI Satellite, Oxford): £14,000
  • Employment Action Group (Berinsfield Children’s Centre): £35,000
  • Friends of Britannia Road (Britannia Road Children’s Centre, Banbury): £10,000 (*interim award pending submission to final round)
  • Chalgrove Primary School (Chalgrove and Watlington Children’s Centres) £30,000
  • Faringdon Town Council (Faringdon Children’s Centre): £30,000
  • Grove PCC (Grove and Wantage Children’s Centres): £10,000 (*interim award pending submission to final round)
  • Kidlington with Hampton Poyle PCC (Kaleidoscope Children’s Centre, Kidlington): £35,000
  • Friends of Maple Tree (Maple Tree Children’s Centre, Wheatley): £30,000
  • Cutteslowe Community Association (North Oxford Children’s Centre): £30,000
  • D:two (Rainbow Children’s Centre, Henley): £21,900
  • Wallingford Town Council (Wallingford Children’s Centre): £30,000

List of proposals approved in first round:

  • Bloxham Primary School (Butterfly Meadows, Children’s Centre): £29,384
  • Carterton Town Council (Carterton Children’s Centre): £30,000
  • Botley Bridges (Elms Road Children’s Centre, Oxford): £30,000
  • Grandpont Nursery (Grandpont Children’s Centre, Oxford): £35,600
  • St Nicholas Primary School (Marston Northway Children’s Centre): £8,000
  • Sharing Life Trust (Red Kite Children’s Centre, Thame): £30,000

List of bids deferred to final round for more work but supported in principle:

  • Aflah Nursery (Florence Park Children’s Centre, Oxford)
  • The Nature Effect (Florence Park Children’s Centre, Oxford)
  • Mortimer Hall (Marston Northway Children’s Centre)
  • The Kings Church Didcot (South Didcot Children’s Centre)
  • Sunshine Centre (Sunshine Centre, Banbury)
  • Witney Methodist Church (Witney Children’s Centre)

List of Children and Family Centres and satellite centres providing council-funded open access services:

  • Banbury
  • Bicester
  • Witney
  • Abingdon
  • Didcot
  • Barton
  • Rose Hill
  • Blackbird Leys
  • East Oxford (satellite centre at the current Early Intervention Hub)
  • Banbury (satellite centre at the current East Street Children’s Centre.

Total locations set to continue open access services: 34