URGENT: Children’s Centre Consultation

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Dear Weybridge/Elmbridge Residents,

As a direct result of Surrey County Council’s new initiative, Weybridge Children’s Centre is at genuine risk of closure next summer.

In 2018 Surrey Children’s Services were rated inadequate by OFSTED this has resulted in a proposed dramatic overhaul of the existing system and the introduction of The Family Resilience Strategy across the whole of Surrey. As part of this initiative the Children’s Centres will be re-modelled to support this strategy and this will include extending current services from 0-5 year olds to include 0 to 11 years old.

On initial reading, the new Family Resilience Strategy is impressive but set against a back drop of reduced Government funding and increased pressure on services within Surrey, a closer inspection reveals plans to reduce the number of Children’s Centres in Surrey from 58 to 21.

What does this mean for Weybridge?

Our town is not considered to be an area of high need and accordingly there are no plans for a Children’s Centre in Weybridge. The existing centre will be closed in the format we have today with a vague possibility of the building being utilised for occasional satellite activities.

Weybridge Children’s Centre was opened in 2010. In 2016 it was rated OFSTED good with some outstanding comments regarding the contribution of the team to the Weybridge Community.
In the last 10 years Weybridge Children’s Centre has provided services to over 5000 Weybridge babies, toddlers and their families. The Centre has run tens of thousands of targeted play sessions, First Aid courses, Parenting Courses and Post Natal Groups for new mothers. Furthermore, the Centre has worked collaboratively with health professionals providing on-site clinics. Behind the scenes our dedicated team of professionals and volunteers have supported hundreds of Weybridge families in need with practical help and support in a compassionate, discreet and safe environment. The Centre itself provides a daily haven for all Weybridge families to meet one another, ask questions and join in with Centre activities.

In short, Weybridge Children’s Centre is a place of welcome and support available to all Weybridge residents on their journey from being an expectant parent, all the way through to their child’s first day at school and beyond.

If you want this service to continue for all residents in the future then we all have to act now to stop the closure of our Weybridge Children’s Centre

The first step is to go online and complete the Family Resilience Strategy Questionnaire. It can be found by visiting surreycc.gov.uk/consultations and click on Family Resilience: Children’s Centres

For those of you who cannot access the online version, please arrange a visit to the centre where we would be happy to help you to complete it online or alternatively provide you with a paper copy.

It is essential that you take the time to respond to this consultation. The document covers the whole of Surrey which of course you can, and should, consider. However, should you wish to just respond to the part that specifically covers children’s centres in Elmbridge please complete questions 1a to 10c, then follow the instructions to complete question 20 onwards.

We truly value your support. Any questions please contact Daphne Sohl (Centre Leader) directly, 07824 995202.

Thank you,

Athalie Tarr, Chair of Advisory Board

Weybridge Children’s Centre