Start Well reform causes confusion

Hope School

Hope School

Confusion has been caused over whether a children’s centre is due to close or not.

A post on social media seemed to suggest that Hope Children’s Centre would “come to an end” on August 31 as part of a council restructure, causing anger and sadness amongst local residents.

But Wigan Council has confirmed that the centre is not closing and the same activities and services will continue to be offered from the Kelvin Grove site in Marus Bridge.

But it did confirm that two members of staff had been unsuccessful in securing new jobs as part of the council’s Start Well reforms.

The restructure of children’s service will launch next week with the opening of five Start Well hubs at existing sites that linked to the remaining 15 children’s centres.

And the council has reassured the public that residents will still be able to access the services that they value at all the centres, while the Start Well hubs will allow for better, more tailored services.

It was announced in April that no centres would close, but that £500k worth of “efficiencies” per year on the current system would be made through staff redundancies and reducing hours.

The Facebook post reads: “It is with great sadness that on August 31 Hope Children’s Centre comes to an end due to the restructure within the council.

“We would like to say a big thank you to all our friends and families who have supported us over the last 10 years and got Hope Children’s Centre the reputation it has today.

“A massive thank you to all staff and providers who have delivered sessions for us were the children have had so much fun.

“Unfortunately Carol and Shelley have been unsuccessful in recruiting a job within the restructure and will be saying goodbye over the next few days - we both have great memories of great times during our time at Hope Children’s Centre and we will miss you all so much.

“Many Thanks for all your help and support lots of love from Carol and Shelley.”

The post was met with anger from residents who seemed to misunderstand and take from the post that classes at the centre would no longer be held.

Bec Jones wrote: “It’s just awful. The kids all loved the groups and the number of children and parents that went to groups shows how good the groups were. Such a shame all the kids are missing out.”

Hannah Murphy added: “It is dreadful that the centre will not be supported by the council. It is a fantastic resource for countless families in the community. I’ve got nothing but great things to say about the sessions and events offered there.

“Such a shame future children won’t have access to this brilliant service.”