ISSUE: Chiswick Child and Family Centre
Background and Latest
What is the Centre?
Chiswick Child and Family Centre therapy provides regular
and professional care to children who are not properly
catered for by existing nursery and other educational
facilities for example children with Down's Syndrome,
autism or learning difficulties.
Why do the Council want to Close it?
They argue that the centre is not cost-effective and the facilities could be put to better use. Recruiting and keeping specialist staff is difficult and they would prefer that the children were cared for at a centre in Brentford. The bigger picture is that the social services budget is under severe pressue and cuts need to be made some where. For a more detailed explanation of the Council's argument - click here.
What is the Argument for Keeping the Centre Open?
Many of the parent's who use the school argue that the consolidation of these services will lead to a decline in standards of care. Click here to read the views of one parent.
What Happened about Consultation?
It is difficult for the council to deny that the consultation process was not well handled. It was brief and held over the summer months when many key people were absent. Parents argued that the consultation prejudged the ultimate outcome.
Why was the decision postponed?
The response from local people was quite vehement and won the support of local MP Ann Keen as well as most of the local councillors. When the matter came up for debate at a council meeting on November 7th, it was anticipated that the Labour majority would force the decision through. In the event a motion presented by Gunnersbury Ward councillor David Hopkins split the Labour group. This motion suggested that the decision be postponed until the end of the council's financial year in March.
Does this mean the Centre is saved?
This is not clear as yet. The Centre still is not taking any more admissions for day long sessions which suggests that closure remains an option. Going into a new financial year it maybe that the Council can find funds from their budget and change their plans.
OFSTED Reports on the two centres Note - the Brentford Centre was reinspected in July of this year and the tone of that report is apparently much more favourable than the report on OFSTED's web site.
What You Can Do:
Contact your local councillor in Hounslow Borough. To find out who your councillor is click here.
Write to the local MP: Ann Keen, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA