Baroness impressed by threatened children’s services

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Kenilworth’s threatened children’s centres had an enthusiastic pat on the back from the House of Lords after a town visit by Lady Joan Walmsley.

The Liberal democrat Baroness made a special effort to visit staff and management at the St John’s and Bertie Road centres, as well as youth services at the Kenilworth Centre, during a trip to the town.

Lady Walmsley became a member of the House of Lords in 2000, and has special interests in all matters concerning early years education, schools and young people.

And she described all the work she saw in the town as “very impressive” after meeting those working to keep the town’s valued services alive against struggles with cutbacks and changes.

Cllr John Whitehouse (Lib Dem, Abbey) said their special guest spoke with those right at the heart of the services about the opportunities and challenges during a period of massive changes taking place in the early education sector.

“She had the chance to meet staff in what is a lovely centre for the town” he said.

“She was impressed with the services and was very interested and full of questions about the work they do and the challenges they are facing.

“She genuinely likes to hear about these things and it was very well appreciated.”

The delighted Lady Walmsley also stopped at The Kenilworth Centre to hear from youth workers about their efforts with young people, and the studios of community 
Radio Abbey. The centres and others across Warwickshire face cuts to services and amalgamation, after the county council was asked to find savings of £92million. Kenilworth’s two children’s centres have submitted a joint bid for service management in a tendering process, the results of which are expected to be known later this spring.