Liberal Democrat county councillors in Surrey have expressed concerns for the future of the County's Children's Centre provision in the light of the sudden departure of one of their leading champions and advocates from the senior team at County Hall. The departure comes after plans to reduce provision were announced by the Conservative-administration earlier this year but with no detail as to which of the County's 58 Children's Centres would close.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats at County Hall, Cllr Chris Botten, said today:
"With the future of 58 Children's Centres in Surrey to be the subject of a consultation process in the autumn, the departure of Ben Byrne, a leading advocate for the service, worries me hugely. Surrey's Director of Children's Services came from Essex County Council where there is only one Family Hub per District or Borough run by Virgin and Barnado's. If this model were to be replicated in Surrey over 40 children's centres would close, severely depleting the support for vulnerable families across the County and putting at risk the rich diversity of our current provision, which is tailored to local needs. I am calling on families and their supporters to ensure that they rally to support their local service and help us fight to keep the best possible provision. Millions of pounds is to be cut from Surrey's budget; but we say that the most vulnerable must be protected at all costs."