Talks over future of
Children's Centres in Liverpool
DISCUSSIONS are getting underway to
look at how 66% of Children's Centre staff in Liverpool can be retained -
despite the service losing 66% of its funding.
The Council has had £173 million of Central Government funding taken away from
it since 2010 and needs to save another £156 million over the next 3 years,
totalling 58% of its overall budget and resulting in the loss of over 2,000 jobs
Mayor Joe Anderson committed 3 years ago not to look again at Children's Centre
services until now, to give time for discussions about new collaborations and
funding and to minimise the reduction in services. Unlike other areas, the City
Council has so far retained all of its Children's Centre buildings.
Talks are now to begin around a proposal to retain 94 of the 157 full time staff
posts, with some services still delivered from a majority of the current sites -
and 7 registered Children's Centres located in the areas of greatest need. Staff
will continue to visit children and families in their homes when extra help is
The consultation will include all staff and parents and carers who use the
service, explaining the proposals and considering how Children's Centres can be
run differently - with a focus on the services they use, the staff who deliver
them and how they can be accessed.
The Council has managed to double the budget it has available by securing £1.4
million of additional funding from partner agencies including Liverpool Clinical
Commissioning Group (CCG) every year for the next 3 years.
Discussions are continuing with partners and other organisations in a bid to
lever in additional funding to further increase the number of centres and staff
that could be retained.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said:- "Sure Start has been a great
success since it began and reflects the need to support parents and children in
their early years to give them the best start in life.
As a former children's social worker, it is clearly inconceivable that I would
choose to make these cuts, and in an ideal world we wouldn't consider closing
any of them, but the Government has given us no choice by withdrawing the money
to pay for them.
We started this process at a point where we only had funding for four centres,
but have managed to get it up to seven by securing additional cash from our
partners. We will continue to hold discussions during the consultation and
beyond in an effort to grow the service.
We have deliberately chosen to focus the budget that we do have on funding staff
posts rather than buildings, so that we can reach as many people as possible,
including through an outreach service.
Any change to services that people love and cherish is really difficult, but we
have to do things differently in every single area right across the Council due
to the sheer scale of the cuts. The only way we can increase the number of
centres and staff to be able to support our very youngest citizens at a very
crucial point in their lives, is to secure additional funding from partners who
themselves heavily depend on these services. We are in discussions and we
will keep working away right up until the last minute to see if we can secure
The methodology for making decisions over centres has looked at levels of
deprivation, child poverty, geography and the number of children under five,
with resources allocated on a graduated basis depending on need.
The proposal is for the retained Registered Children's Centres to be located
across the City, serving the immediate area and surrounding wards:-
Central and City
► Everton Children's Centre – serving Everton, Kirkdale and Anfield
► Granby Children's Centre – serving Princes Park, Riverside and Central
► Picton Children's Centre – serving Picton, Kensington and Fairfield, Tuebrook
► Clubmoor Children's Centre – serving Clubmoor, Norris Green, West Derby,
Knotty Ash and Old Swan
► County Children's Centre – serving County, Warbreck, Fazakerley, Croxteth and
► Belle Vale Children's Centre – serving Belle Vale, Woolton, Church, Wavertree,
Greenbank and Childwall
► Speke Children's Centre – serving Speke-Garston, Allerton and Hunts Cross,
Mossley Hill and St Michael's
Subject to negotiations, it is hoped some services will still be delivered from
as many of the other registered centres and sites as possible. They are: -
Fazakerley and Croxteth
Fountains and Vauxhall
Garston, Church and Mossley Hill
Tuebrook and West Derby
The consultation is getting underway this
week, and will see one event held on each site, as well as a number of meetings
Councillor Jane Corbett, Cabinet member for children's services, said:-
"Children's Centres are very dear to my heart as I helped set up the first one
in the City and I know the positive difference they make to children's lives in
the long term. But we are between a rock and a hard place, and in these
incredibly difficult times we have to protect the frontline where children are
right on the edge of care and in danger. Money is so tight now that we are
having to make deep cuts to our Children's Centres which were previously
unimaginable. I would like to pay tribute to all of our staff and volunteers who
are doing a fantastic job supporting our youngest citizens and their parent and
carers. We are committed to listening to everyone and doing what we can with the
limited funding we have left to continue to reach as many of our families as
To take part in the consultation,
or be writing to:- Children's Centre Consultation, c/o Children's Centre Team,
Municipal Buildings, Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2DH by 24 March 2015.
Following the consultation, a report with a final proposal will be considered by
the Cabinet no later than June 2015.
Has Grandad got
a Samurai sword?
A national charity
dedicated to keeping alive the memory of prisoners of war held in
the Far East, in World War 2, are asking local people to hunt out any
mementoes or artefacts passed down by parents and grandparents from
their time in captivity.
2015 sees the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in
Japan and COFEPOW, a charity set up to perpetuate the memory of Far
East Prisoners of War and raise awareness of the suffering they
endured, is keen to track down any artefacts such as letters,
photographs or diaries brought back from the Far East by prisoners
COFEPOW (Children and Families of Far East Prisoners of War) was
founded by Carol Cooper, the daughter of a prisoner of war who
discovered her father's wartime diary advertised for sale and
decided to set up a charity to keep alive the memories of Far East
prisoners of war (FEPOWs).
70 years on from VJ Day, the charity wants to make sure as much
precious material as possible is recorded to commemorate this
important anniversary, to help recognise the enormous contribution
made by individual FEPOWs. So, COFEPOW is now looking for local
people who might have almost forgotten artefacts hidden away.
Says Keith Andrews of COFEPOW:- "Many of us have artefacts and
mementoes stored away that were passed down by our parents and
grandparents from their time in the Far East. We want to find more
of these valuable artefacts to record them for future generations,
and that is why we asking local people to help."
COFEPOW member Patrick Toosey from the Wirral is backing the
initiative:- "When my father, Brigadier Toosey, returned from
the Far East he brought back a Samurai sword from one of his
Japanese captors. When I was a child, my father didn't mention the
war and what he went through, but this sword is now a permanent
reminder to me of his suffering."
Keith added:- "The artefacts people have are often not
valuable in financial terms, but they do mean a great deal to the
families of prisoners of war. Anyone interested in letting us know
what they have will be helping us preserve this valuable archive
material for the future."
If you would like to help or to find out more please go
Holocaust Exhibition comes to Liverpool City Centre
A special exhibition is to be held this year in the heart of
Liverpool City Centre to raise awareness about the Holocaust.
Holocaust Remembrance Day take place on 27 January each year. The
date has been chosen as it marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau
in 1945 with this year being the 70th Anniversary and is therefore a
For the past 12 years "Fathers House", a Christian
congregation based in Deeside, has been remembering the Holocaust in
a unique way. They have been exhibiting in shopping centres in
Wrexham and Mold and taking out questionnaires to shoppers to ask
about their recollection and understanding of Holocaust.
This year they are bringing their exhibition to a pop-up shop at 16
Manestys Lane, Liverpool 1 on Tuesday, 27 Wednesday 2015 and Thursday,
29 January 2015, between 10am and 4pm and will be going out to meet
shoppers to ask what they understand about the Holocaust and to
raise awareness about this terrible stain on humanity. Shoppers will
be invited back to the exhibition to learn more and it is hoped that
many others will also visit the exhibition.
The Pastor of Fathers House. Pastor Mike Fryer who graduated in
Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum Jerusalem in
2009, said that the questionnaires have revealed that many of those
surveyed by his team had little or no knowledge of Holocaust. He said:-
"Before the early 1990's Holocaust was not a subject schools taught
to their students and ,therefore, there are those in our society who
don't really understand the suffering of those 6 million Jews who
were murdered during the years of the 2nd World War. There's even
less understanding about those who survived, but who lost their
families, homes and possessions and today still live with the
haunting memories of the persecution the Jewish community of Europe
Pastor Fryer said the murder of the Jews of Europe by shooting and
gassing was the result of the teaching of hatred over hundreds of
years by not only the Nazis, but many leaders in the Church and this
teaching of hatred turned ordinary men and women into mass murderers
and volunteer executioners. "We have to teach and raise
awareness about Holocaust to prevent attitudes of hatred towards any
members of our communities developing into violent and murderous
actions as we have seen in Paris recently."
He said during the 2nd World War there was a prison camp in Huyton for many Jews who fled from Germany and Austria before the
war and they were supported by the people of Liverpool. He says that
for this reason and the fact that Liverpool people have a history of
embracing the Jewish community is a great place remember the
liberation of European Jewry in this 70th year.
The team from Fathers House have been working alongside Councillor
Jeremy Wolfson in organising the Liverpool event. Councillor Wolfson
said:- "This anniversary is an opportunity for us to reflect
on the Holocaust and raise awareness not only of what happened but
to try and ensure that the attitudes which led to it are not
repeated. Unfortunately we have seen recently how there are still
people who are prepared to perpetuate hatred towards communities
throughout the world. By taking this exhibition into the City centre
where there are thousands of people passing by we hope we will be
able to generate a greater understanding of what happened during the
Holocaust and how we can work to prevent such hatred reoccurring."
A service will take place at Liverpool Town Hall to mark Holocaust
Remembrance Day which as well as the Holocaust, also commemorates
genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. A service will also be held at
Christ Church, Lord Street,
Southport, from 1.30pm.