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‘Heartbreak’ over proposals to close all but one of West Norfolk's children’s centres

Residents have described their “devastation” following the news earlier this week that all but one of West Norfolk’s children’s centres could close.

Norfolk County Council revealed proposals for a major shake-up of the county’s early childhood and family service on Monday, which would see St Clement’s Children’s Centre in Terrington St Clement become a base in West Norfolk.

Norfolk County Council headquarters (3027764)
Norfolk County Council headquarters (3027764)

The authority said it will look at how any buildings no longer needed as children’s centres can continue to be used for children and families.

County councillor Alex Kemp, who represents South Lynn and Clenchwarton, said: “The county council’s plans to stop funding all children’s centre premises in Lynn, where there is the greatest level of need, would be a massive cut in frontline services for 0 to five-year-olds, that will impact on the current generation of families, parents, grandparents and children for years to come.”

She added: “It is unbelievable that county is talking about using portakabins to deliver services for children in, instead of using purpose-built children’s centres like South Lynn and this represents a massive waste of the public investment that built them.”

The plans are the subject of an eight-week consultation, and could change how early childhood services are delivered to children aged 0 to five and their families.

Across the county, the proposals would see 46 of 53 children’s centres shut.

On Facebook, Nikki Jo said: “Heartbreaking to see this. The children’s centres are a life line for many families, and very much part of the community. I have seen first hand how these services can assist families and I am devastated to see this valuable service going.”

“Those who take from the hands of children are the lowest of the low,” said Tobias Bagan.

The consultation runs until November 9 and is available online at www.norfolk.gov.uk/childrenscentres.

A public drop in event will be held at Gaywood Library on October 25 from 10am to noon, 2pm to 4pm and 6pm to 8pm.

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