Family centre to close

AN important service that offers vital support to a number of parents and their children is set to be stopped because of cuts to its funding.

Craig Robinson

AN important service that offers vital support to a number of parents and their children is set to be stopped because of cuts to its funding.

The Deben Family Centre at Cedar House, Pytches Road, Woodbridge, will shut its doors at the end of April.

Suffolk County Council is withdrawing its funding - instead saying it will focus on support in the home and invest in a new children's centre in the town.

The closure of the facility will mean the loss of six part-time jobs and two pool staff, while the 40 families it currently supports will be left without a much needed facility.

The centre has been up and running since 1988 and has annual running costs in the region of �90,000.

Most Read

In 1999 it became part of the Seckford Foundation, which aims to provide care and education for young and old in and around the Woodbridge area.

As well as offering support for parents and children the centre is also used for meetings for the Deben Doubles - a group for families with twins - and as a meeting point for a local toddler group.

Last night Graham Watson, director of the Seckford Foundation, confirmed it would be shutting its doors.

“This is due to Suffolk County Council wanting to change to a programme of home visits for family support,” he said. “This change has meant the centre would lose two thirds of its current funding and therefore very reluctantly the Trustees of the Seckford Foundation have had no other alternative than to close the family centre at the end of April.”

Woodbridge town and district councillor Cliff Cocker, who is also chairman of the Deben Family Centre advisory committee, said he was disappointed it was being forced to close.

“I don't think what the county council are proposing will provide the same level of service,” he said.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We are re-focussing our available resources to providing more family support in homes.

“The county council is opening a children's centre in Woodbridge to complement the existing centres in Kesgrave and Rendlesham.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter