Kenilworth children's centre celebrates 10th birthday ahead of big decision over its future

From left: Jean Lockley, midwife Inger Southorn and Cllr Kate Dickson
From left: Jean Lockley, midwife Inger Southorn and Cllr Kate Dickson

Staff at a Kenilworth children’s centre celebrated its 10th birthday ahead of an important decision over its future.

The party at St John’s Children’s Centre on Friday November 3 was well-attended, with many people reminiscing about their memories of the centre.

Kenilworth’s mayor Cllr Kate Dickson, who sits on the Kenilworth children’s centres advisory board, also attended.

Jean Lockley, chair of Kenilworth children’s centres advisory board, said: “Not only did we have good representation from children and parents who currently use the centre, but we were also visited by some Year 5 pupils from St John’s Primary School, all of whom had attended the centre ten years ago as babies and toddlers.

“They shared their memories and proudly showed me their photographs in an album which they take from the children’s centre to primary school.

“They were accompanied by their headteacher Darren Barrow, who confirmed that attendance at the children’s centre had given this group of children an excellent start which was now demonstrated in their school attainments.”

The centre’s future is uncertain after Warwickshire County Council announced its plans to cut children’s centres in the county.

St John’s was originally set to be closed completely on March 31 next year, but revised plans suggest retaining the centre for another year in a ‘transition period’ while new options are considered for the centre.

It is unclear what will happen to St John’s after that transition year. Kenilworth's county councillors Alan Cockburn, John Cooke and Dave Shilton said they were 'optimistic' a business case could be made to keep it open.

Otherwise, the centre could close and an 'outreach service' would appear in its place, which would mean there would be no direct access to children's centre services in Kenilworth.

Jean added: “We will continue our campaign to keep St John’s Children’s Centre Kenilworth open.”

Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet will vote on the new proposals on Thursday November 9.