Huge investment in children's centres

ELEVEN new children's centres offering families an important community resource are due to open within the next year in Ipswich as part of a £5.5million investment.

ELEVEN new children's centres offering families an important community resource are due to open in Ipswich as part of a £5.5million investment.

The centres are due to be completed by the end of March and are part of a massive government initiative to get 35 centres up and running in Suffolk by April, 2008.

The next centre to be built is the Maidenhall and Old Stoke Children's Centre which will be at Hillside Community Primary School on Belstead Avenue in Ipswich.

Costs are currently being finalised with the contractors, May Gurney, and engineers and architects are working on detailed designs.

It is hoped the new centre will open in spring 2008.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “Children's centres are designed to improve the quality of life for young families; experience in other children centres is that it really does make a huge difference.

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“We hope that the Maidenhall and Old Stoke centre will deliver exactly that.”

The centres will include a range of facilities designed for the individual needs of the area such as child and family health services, family support, a child minder network, toy libraries and links with Jobcentre Plus and adult education.

The centres are designed to allow parents and children to spend time with other families in the area while also getting information and support.

Councillor Philip Smart said: “I think that by giving young families more support it helps to create a more stable neighbourhood as the years go on.

“It's a very long term way of doing it but if there are problems with discipline and that sort of thing, any support we can give children and their families, is a very good thing for everyone's future.”

Would you use the children's centre? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail

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