The review, which involved parents and carers, children’s centre staff and the local community, explored different ways of providing children’s centre services to families with very young children. One of the recommendations that came out of the consultation was to convert one of the three South Wye children’s centres into a nursery to help meet increasing demand for places.
As a result, 70 new nursery places will be provided at Springfield Children’s Centre, Belmont Avenue and a further 20 have already been provided at the Green Croft Children’s Centre in Red Hill. The children’s centre services currently provided at Springfield Centre will continue to be provided, but from a range of different local venues.
The government has recently announced an increase in the number of free nursery places for two year old children who live in deprived areas. The government also expects the local authority to increase the number of nursery places available to meet an expected surge in demand as a result of this funding change.
The building currently used as Springfield Children’s Centre, will be refurbished with funding from the government ready to be occupied as a new nursery from September 2013.
Councillor Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “As the government changes the way free nursery education is provided, there will be a boost in demand, and we need to prepare for this in Hereford where the population is greatest and continues to grow.
“Good quality nursery education can make a huge difference to a child’s future health, happiness, economic prosperity and wellbeing. We are now looking for the very best nursery providers, either from the private or voluntary sector, who can work with us to help each of these children get the best start in life and realise their full potential.
“Children’s centre services provide lots of support to families with 0-5 year olds and this support will continue: there are facilities at Green Croft and Spring Meadow centres plus a range of other venues in the area where young families meet regularly.”