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Children's centre that was earmarked for closure could be retained

A children’s centre in Pinkneys Green that was initially earmarked for closure under the council’s plans to transform services could now be retained.

In May, plans to transform children’s services in the borough to a central hub model were approved by the cabinet, which included plans to close several children centres in Windsor and Maidenhead.

However, after a second consultation, the latest plans show that one of the centres originally earmarked for closure, Pinkneys Green Children’s Centre, will now be retained in some capacity.

The updated proposals state that the centre will be repurposed as a family contact centre, supporting children in care. Some family hub delivery services would also be run from the centre, like weekly health provision and targeted youth groups.

However, the regular youth group will not continue and the site would be de-designated as a children’s centre.

The reformed transformation proposals will go before the cabinet tomorrow night (Thursday).

Cllr Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) called the new plans a ‘six out of ten’.

He said: “Moving the family centre to Pinkneys Green will be great for those families in trouble in Pinkneys Green, that’s a really good thing.

“However, it does meant the end of Pinkneys Green as a community centre.

“There will no longer be a hall the community can use, so it’s the end of birthday parties and wedding receptions happening at the centre.

“Before COVID we had lots of groups, toddlers groups, dance and aikido, but they are no longer going to be able to continue.”

Another site that was originally set to close, Maidenhead Project Centre in Reform Road, would also be retained as part of the new plans.

The plans are designed to transform the Royal Borough’s children’s services by opening central hubs in Maidenhead and Windsor, and focusing on providing support for those who need it the most, with outreach services considered a priority.

The council report, which will go before cabinet, states: “Although the proposals in this consultation would result in a reduced universal early help offer, we propose to mitigate against some of the impact by bringing more services together in a more coordinated way, enabling families to access more of the support they would most benefit from. This will mean those needing targeted support such as information about domestic abuse and health guidance, would be more likely to access it.

“Local community and voluntary sector organisations could deliver some of the universal services that are not proposed as part of the new model, thereby ensuring all families are able to access some level of provision.

“By providing advice and guidance to these groups, we will be equipping the local community with greater knowledge and skills.”

The cabinet meeting will take place at 6.15pm tomorrow (Thursday) and will be streamed on the Royal Borough's YouTube channel.

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