Published: 16 June 2011
by JOSIE HINTON
TWO popular children’s centres have been closed – but will re-open as community nurseries.
Camden Council chiefs have agreed to find new providers of Caversham children’s centre in Kentish Town and Acol in West Hampstead.
The centres will close in August as part of a raft of measures to shave 10 per cent off the council’s Early Years budget.
Councillor Larraine Revah, cabinet member for children, schools and families, told a council cabinet meeting on Wednesday the nurseries could re-open as soon as September.
She said: “There is an amendment to find a new provider for Caversham and explore alternatives. We will have to close them for a little while until we do the tendering and interviewing.
“We hope this process can start tomorrow. And preferably we will find a new provider by July. We already provide 800 free places and that is a positive thing.”
This week parents were cautiously welcoming the decision. Celina Goodfellow, of Islip Street, whose son attends Caversham, said: “Obviously we are disappointed that the centre is closing, but this is the next best thing. It has made all the fighting worthwhile. Now we hope that the transition will be as smooth as possible.”
And Acol parent Penny Liechti, of Solent Road, added: “I am bitterly disappointed by the council’s decision to close our outstanding Sure Start facility. However, it is heartening to hear Caversham has secured a guarantee of help from Camden in moving to a community-run basis, and that the Cabinet agreed to same assistance for Acol.”