‘Vast numbers’ of children’s centres closed across England since 2010

Monday, Jun 17, 2024

LONDON: Almost two in five council-run children’s centres in England have closed since 2010 amid government cuts in financial support for local authorities, according to a new report.

Unison said the closures had “devastated” communities and left vulnerable families without access to vital education and health support.Freedom of Information (FoI) requests by the union showed that 38% of council-run children’s centres in England had closed since 2010 when the Government implemented austerity measures.

There were at least 3,106 council-run children’s centres across England in 2010/11, but hard-up local authorities had locked the doors of 1,168 centres by the end of March 2023, the union’s figures showed.

Local authorities in the South East and West Midlands closed the highest proportion of their children’s centres between 2010/11 and 2022/23, Unison said.Unison’s head of local government Mike Short said: “Every region of England has closed vast numbers of council-run children’s centres – further victims of the Government’s misplaced austerity drive.

“Children’s centres are the lifeblood of local communities. They support working and vulnerable parents, and they provide essential education and developmental support to the nation’s children from birth to school age and beyond.

“This research has exposed the harsh reality of centres closing. From leaving vulnerable families in deprived areas and isolated communities beyond the reach of support teams, to cutting the specialist staff who prevent at-risk children from being taken into care.”The full report will be published on Monday at Unison’s local government conference in Brighton.