Bromley Council has been forced to revise its plans to reduce the number of Sure Start Children’s Centres from 23 to just 3. The Sure Start programme was one of the main priorities of the previous government. It was designed to support young children under five and their families to give them the best possible start on life. Many parents objected to the planned closures and the policy also led to questions being asked in parliament. Now, the Government’s threat to claw back much of the funding given to Bromley to develop these Centres, has led to the council producing new plans which keep 6 centres in areas of highest deprivation.
However, in our area, the only fully operational centre will remain Community Vision in Hawthorn Grove. Alternative uses are being sought for other centres, including those at James Dixon and Royston schools.
The budget available to Community Vision will be severely reduced. Under the previous plan, the Penge centre was expecting to provide £297,000 of services to local families. Under the revised proposal that is being reduced to £133, 255 and to achieve that they are expected to generate £15,000 of their own income from hiring out the premsies. On top of that, the Penge centre will have to take on the activity of the local centres that are closing. James Dixon, in Anerley, which is clsoing, is the 2nd most used Children’s Centre in the borough. I dont think this is what those who have been celebrating the chage of decison were expecting.