September 16 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Hundreds of families have been dealt a blow after it was announced a popular children’s centre will close its doors at the end of the month.
Ormiston Children and Families Trust’s children’s centre in Felixstowe Road, described as a one-stop shop for a range of services for parents-to-be and families of under fives, will shut on March 31.
It comes after Suffolk County Council decided against extending the charity’s contract to run the services.
From April 1, the service will be provided by the county council from other locations in the area.
The closures comes as a bitter disappointment to the hundreds of families that use the centre which offers 16 different groups including baby massage, a breastfeeding workshop, messy play, speech and language sessions and a drop-in session for the Polish community.
Megan Williams, of Ransome Road, Ipswich, visits the children’s centre with her two-year-old son David Gatt on a regular basis.
The 24-year-old said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous that the children’s centre is closing.
“We’ve been told that some of the groups such as baby massage and children’s activities will be held at places including Rosehill Library and Hatfield Road Church but those facilities are not suitable. They are designed as a church and library not centres for children’s activities.”
An Ormiston spokesman said: “Ormiston have been told that the county council’s decision to bring all its external contracts for children’s centres to an end is in order to ‘meet procurement regulations and to best determine how such services will be delivered in the future’.
“It is not a reflection of the service that Ormiston have provided to children and families in Ipswich for over six years through the centre.” The spokesman said the charity is determined to continue serving local children from the site after the closure.
“We are looking into the possibility of opening a nursery on the Felixstowe Road site, and we will be running a drop-in and play session every Tuesday morning from April 8,” he added.
“Ormiston have appreciated the community support during this time, and will work with our neighbours and local families as we develop new services.”
Ormiston’s other services across East Anglia are unaffected by the closure of the children’s centre.
A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “All of the services currently provided from Ormiston children’s centre will continue to be available, albeit from alternative venues.
“Baby changing facilities are either already available at the other venues, or will be made available when sessions are on. “We are also investigating the possibility of making improvements to permanent facilities at one of these venues.”