THE proposed locations of Wigan’s Start Well hubs have been revealed ahead of a public consultation on a children’s services shake-up.
Town Hall bosses are asking residents to have a say on their controversial revamp which will see the hubs replace the current SureStart system.
According to a report set to be presented to the borough’s ruling cabinet today the hubs will be in Worsley Hall, Westleigh, Ince, Platt Bridge and Atherton.
Each will be supported by some of the other existing centres although their function will be greatly reduced.
The hub locations have been chosen because they are in areas with the highest proportion of children not meeting the expected level of development ahead of starting school or living in areas of high levels of deprivation.
Coun Jo Platt, portfolio holder for children and young people, said: “We want every child across the borough to have the best start in life and have every opportunity to go on and live a prosperous life.
“We recognise that by working closely with our partners in one community setting we can deliver better services tailored to achieving our goal of all children being prepared for school.
“We want to hear from residents who use our services now or might do in the future and there are a number of ways to get involved so please come along to an event or fill in the questionnaire.”
The shake-up - which is part of the council’s Deal for the Future policy - has been triggered by the town hall’s need to make savings of £60m by 2020, bringing their total since the start of the austerity period to around £160m.
Of the current childrens’ centres, there is a 50/50 split between those operating at a good or higher level, and those that require urgent improvement, the report adds.
It also reveals that local authority officers considered proposing a three hub option but rejected it because “it would dilute the leadership in the system and create too much distance between families and Start Well (hubs).”
The Start Well hubs will deliver all the services currently on offer at current SureStart centres plus added health and social care provision for the entire family.
The report states: “The proposed model is not founded in reducing the current offer, but driven by a need to fundamentally change how we work to achieve improved outcomes and to reduce demand and costs on specialist services.”
The consultation period is due to start from tomorrow and will run for 14 weeks until February 26.
Residents can take part by visiting www.wigan.gov.uk/haveyoursay
The five hub locations will serve (in brackets) the following areas of the borough; Westfield Children’s Centre, Worsley Hall (Pemberton, Winstanley, Highfield, Orrell, Billinge, Worsley Mesnes, Hawkley Hall, Goose Green) Westleigh CC (Leigh, Lowton, Golborne) Ince CC (Town centre, Standish, Shevington, Aspull, New Springs, Whelley) Platt Bridge CC (Hindley, Hindley Green, Abram, Ashton and Bryn) and Atherton CC (Atherton, Tyldesley and Mosley Common).