Children's centres set to make life 'Easier' for Uttlesford families

PUBLISHED: 09:16 21 September 2009 | UPDATED: 07:23 30 May 2010

DEDICATED centres for young families will soon be just a pram s walk away for residents in Uttlesford, according to Essex County Council officers. Facilities aimed at helping parents with children aged five and under are being set up in both Great Dunmo

DEDICATED centres for young families will soon be just a "pram's walk away" for residents in Uttlesford, according to Essex County Council officers.

Facilities aimed at helping parents with children aged five and under are being set up in both Great Dunmow and Saffron Walden, and it is being proposed that these children's centres will also provide outreach services to surrounding villages and towns.

Children and community development officer for ECC, Gill Holland, said: "The centres are intended to make life easier for parents and improve lives for children. It will allow new parents to interact and also provide vital links to other useful resources such as jobcentres."

A new temporary centre for Dunmow is scheduled to open in November, but a permanent location at the old library on North Street will be renovated and opened in Spring 2010. A location for a Saffron Walden will also be found next year.

Dunmow's centre will follow on from a successful model in Stansted that has become a real community hub, offering various classes, coffee mornings and parental assistance.

When fully opened next year, the Dunmow centre will be able to handle around 1300 children, as well as provide outreach services to villages such as the Rodings, Barnston and High Easter.

A Saffron Walden centre would be expected to handle around 1500 children when a site has been found.

Mrs Gill said: "We hope to make links in the communities, by grouping together with existing groups, such as baby and toddler groups, and understanding what is needed in each of the different towns and villages. We will consult with users to find out what they want from their own centres."

Money to fund the schemes comes directly from the British Government and is devolved down to all counties in the country. The target for Essex is to have a centre or outreach service within walking distance of every family in Uttlesford.

WHAT do you think? E-mail us at editor@dunmow-broadcast.co.uk or write to us at 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 1EE.

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