Council to set up children’s centres

FAMILIES with young children across the whole of Bedfordshire are set to benefit from 18 new children s centres that will be up and running by the end of 2008. The children s centres can cater for up to 800 children each and are a base for a range of orga

FAMILIES with young children across the whole of Bedfordshire are set to benefit from 18 new children's centres that will be up and running by the end of 2008.

The children's centres can cater for up to 800 children each and are a base for a range of organisations to offer early education, childcare, health services, employment advice and family support.

Bedfordshire County Councillor Rita Drinkwater, cabinet member for Education, said: "Parents with young children can find themselves rushed off their feet dealing with the demands of caring for their child while trying to keep pace with their own busy lives. The last thing they need is to have to go to a number of different places to find early years services.

"The county council already offers a lot of the services they require.

"Children's centres provide us with the opportunity to team up with the other service providers to offer all the services that families need in one place.

" The 18 new centres should make life much easier for parents in those areas."

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Bedfordshire County Council's Executive Committee this week approved plans for the management of the 18 new centres to be agreed according to their local circumstances. This approach will mean the new centres could be managed by health services, schools or voluntary groups but most importantly by the most suitable group for each centre.

Centres in Comet country will be at Potton, Arlesey, Southill, Old Warden and Shefford.

By the end of 2008 the county council will have set up 25 children's centres catering for 14,000 children.