Securing community services for young children
Thursday, 07 June 2012
A new grants fund has been set up to help secure community services that benefit young children and families.
At his decision day on 31 May, Councillor Roy Perry, Hampshire County Council's Executive Lead Member for Children Services, agreed an initial budget of £150,000 be set aside for grants to help sustain community services for young children.
The money is to help voluntary and independent sector organisations which run services that had been delivered under the previous Children's Centre management. Local organisations who deliver activities such as messy play and community cafes, which encourage communities into the centres but do not meet the more targeted core offer of the children's centres, will benefit.
Last month saw the successful transfer of the management of Hampshire's 81 Children's Centres to new providers. The transfer of the centres has enabled the County Council to ensure the services represent value for money for council taxpayers resulting in savings of £6m while at the same time increasing the numbers of family support workers.
An extra £1M to support community activities
In addition to this the efficient nature of the management contracts has enabled the County Council to re- invest a further £1 million additional resource per year for the contract period in all children's centres to develop community activities linked to the centres and support some other activities that were being provided by voluntary organisations and which were making a difference for children and families.
The £150,000 grant funding comes from this money and will support community activities that can demonstrate they make a difference to young children and their families. Any organisation applying for a grant will have to retain a focus on improving outcomes for young children aged 0-5 and the grants will enable families and children to access continued services in their area.
Commenting Cllr Perry said:
"I am delighted to be able to make this funding available. The successful transition of the management of our children's centres has meant that children and families can continue to access high quality support services. The new contract arrangements have also enabled us to plough around £1m back into developing those services and this grant stream will enable organisations offering community services which make a difference to children and families and which were previously provided under the former management arrangements to apply for funding. The grants will help them develop these services and continue to provide vital support to families in their communities."