Union slams family centre closures

Newham Unison has strongly criticised the local council’s decision
to close two family resource centres and convert a third into a
child protection centre.

Last week, Newham Council, east London, agreed to the closure of
the Canberra and Shrewsbury family resource centres between
February and April next year, and for the Hamfrith family resource
centre to reopen as a unit for child protection assessment and

The premises of two other family resource centres will be used as a
Sure Start centre, a neighbourhood nursery, or a combination of

Michael Gavan, Newham Unison chairperson, said the plans were
“appalling” and claimed that vulnerable children would be cut off
from vital services.

But a council spokesperson said that, of the 84 children using the
centres’ day care services, 29 were due to start school later that
month and 15 in January. She said the remaining children would have
their needs assessed and, if eligible, would receive mainstream or
specialist services.

Efforts would be made to redeploy the 55 staff working in the
centres to other council jobs, but she could not rule out
compulsory redundancy.

But Gavan argued that the children would not be eligible for
mainstream services as they were not getting them now.

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