Ten South Yorkshire children’s centres axed

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Plans to close children’s centres across Rotherham have been approved by councillors - but three on the hit-list have been saved.

The Wath Victoria, Dinnington and Park View centres will stay open under an amended scheme which will cost the council £350,000.

Still set to close are Cortonwood, Kimberworth, Marcliff, Meadows, Rockingham, Ryton Brook, Silver Birch, Sue Walker, Thorpe Hesley and Thurcroft.

It means that from next year there will be 10 centres left across the borough out of the original 22.

Children and families in other areas will be looked after instead by a new outreach service, providing health, social care and education.

It is estimated that 2,500 youngsters and their families will be affected by the changes.

The original proposals were designed to produce savings over two years of £2.2 million.

Central Government funding for children’s services is to be reduced from just over £5 million a year to £2.8 million by 2016.

Proposals announced in January were followed by a lengthy consultation process which included widespread opposition from parents, the public, childcare workers and unions.

Unison spokesman Jamie Thompson said a petition opposing the cuts had amassed 6,000 signatures.

“This will hit the town’s under fives hard and there will be a direct impact on them when they begin school,” he said. “This, coupled with cuts to the youth service, will create a perfect storm in the years to come.”