�2.4m centre for community services to be built at Samuel Whitbread Community College

A �2.4m centre for community services in the east of Central Bedfordshire has been given the go-ahead. Today, Tuesday, Central Bedfordshire Council s executive committee agreed to a new community centre to be built within the grounds of Samuel Whitbread

A �2.4m centre for community services in the east of Central Bedfordshire has been given the go-ahead.

Today, Tuesday, Central Bedfordshire Council's executive committee agreed to a new community centre to be built within the grounds of Samuel Whitbread Community College in Clifton.

This 'community hub' will be the first of its kind in Central Bedfordshire saving money and resources and allowing residents to access community services all in one place.

The Bedfordshire East School's Trust Co-location Project will then provide accommodation and facilities for the following local partners:

* Bedfordshire East Schools Trust (BEST)

* School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) - teaching spaces and offices for college senior and support staff

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* Bedfordshire NHS - offices and facilities for early intervention team/youth services, Children and Young People's health services, developing counselling, therapy (such as physiotherapy, speech and language) and other clinics

* Central Bedfordshire Extended Schools - providing wrap around and family support services including: parenting advice, stop smoking, healthy eating dietician, sexual health, counselling, carer's and parenting advice, drugs awareness (Ask Frank), law clinic, domestic violence clinic and citizens advice and adult participation in a wide range of sports, the arts, engineering and other positive civic and voluntary activities.

* Bedfordshire Police - improving visibility and access providing office/interview/meeting spaces for the use of the Schools Liaison and Community Police Officers

* Central Bedfordshire (Nursery) - moving the Samuel Whitbread Community College nursery to this new building will provide more space, a baby unit and a permanent purpose built building.

* It will also mean the other services will be directly accessible by parents at the very start of their contact with the education system, and the support services will be able to track their progress throughout the trust as their children move through it and on to further and higher education and training.

This co-location will give direct access to services for 3,800 children and their parents, 380 staff as well as the local communities of Shefford, Clifton and the surrounding villages.

The planned integrated ICT infrastructure will give direct access for these co-located services to 6,500 children and young people, their carers, parents and the local community through a series of school based community service hubs of which this is the first.

The environment and healthy eating programme will also feature heavily in the way that children will be using the facility with plans for a community seasonal herb and vegetable garden. This will be maintained and used by the schools as a curriculum and healthy schools resource. Wind turbines and solar energy panels will also be installed to help reduce the buildings carbon footprint.

Cllr Anita Lewis, Portfolio Holder for Children's Services at Central Bedfordshire Council said: "I am so pleased that we are moving forward with this project. Bedfordshire East School's Trust have been instrumental in bringing together all the local services which will benefit from this building and I thank them for their hard work in getting this project started and its funding secured.

"We will now be looking to get this building built and opened as quickly as possible so children and adults in the east of Central Bedfordshire can start making the most of its services

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