Where our extra £7.7m will be spent


Last week we set the county council’s Budget for 2016/17 and were able to announce some welcome news for children’s centres, as well as for bus services and winter maintenance for road gritting.

Due to the extra £7.7m we have received from the Government’s rural services grant for the next two years, our proposals for possible cuts to 15 children’s centres, bus subsidies and highways maintenance have been shelved.

With a £40m shortfall to find due to a reduction in Government grants we have had to look at savings from all service areas. But with the extra funding, and taking into account the priorities from the recent consultation and survey, as well as the passionate response from local people through petitions, we have been able to prevent any reductions to these services.

I know how valuable local bus services are to local people and of course, it is important that our roads are well maintained for people to be able to get around the county. But I am well aware of how valuable our children’s centres are to parents and their children and am delighted that we are able to continue funding these services in communities across the county.

For many families and their children the centres offer a valuable lifeline.

They give communities a real boost and provide support all the year round for families and carers with children from birth to five, giving youngsters the best possible start in life.

Partnerships with other service providers give help and guidance on first aid, health and finances, legal advice, childcare, education, child behaviour management, communication skills and even training and employment advice. There are also loads of activities for children including reading, play, singing and crafts.

So they offer a fantastic variety of activities, free drop in sessions and helpful services.

Parenting can be challenging and parents themselves require and deserve support.

Advice is available through our Family information Service, with lots of information for families, child carers and professionals, including:

- Ofsted registered childcare - childminders, pre-schools, day nurseries, out of school and holiday clubs, etc;

- Unregistered childcare - parent and toddler groups, childcare for the over 8s, etc;

- Help and advice on choosing childcare;

- Information on financial help for families with childcare costs - including tax credits, benefits and free Early Years Entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds;

- Useful local and national support organisations;

- Details of a range of leisure activities;

- Wide range of leaflets and guides;

- Information on childcare as a career or setting up your own childcare business;

- Support for families of children with disabilities and specific needs

- Lincolnshire children’s centres

You can access this service by calling us on 0800 195 1635 Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm or email fis@lincolnshire.gov.uk

Councillor Patricia Bradwell is Deputy Leader and Executive Councillor for Adult Care, Health and Children’s Services on Lincolnshire County Council.