Lambeth Council proposal to withdraw funding for Coin Street family and children’s centre: consultation underway

Lambeth Council are now consulting on proposals on the future of local children’s centres.

To make budget savings it is proposed that all children’s centre funding from Lambeth Council will be withdrawn from Coin Street family and children’s centre from September 2019. This is part of a wider plan to reduce Lambeth children centre provision from the current 23 full provision children’s centres down to 11 core centres (with a full timetable of children’s centre activities) and 7 link centres (with a reduced timetable).

Coin Street family and children’s centre is rated Outstanding by Ofsted. “We have been proudly supporting young Lambeth families in our purpose-built and accessible neighbourhood centre since 2007” says David Hopkins, Coin Street’s director of community. “We believe in giving families and children the best start in life, to support them to be happy, healthy and resilient to life’s challenges. The proposed cuts will hit our Lambeth families and children hard and are likely to have significant impact in the longer term, particularly to vulnerable families and those most at risk.”

Feeling safe at Coin Street

If the proposals go through, families and children currently accessing the Coin Street family and children’s centre, will have a 25-minute walk to the nearest children’s centre in Kennington or Oval. “Experience tells us that families, especially vulnerable families, access services where they feel safe and where they have built relationships and trust with an organisation and members of the team there. Our families regularly tell us how at home they feel at the neighbourhood centre. If they must travel somewhere new, we are concerned they will just fall through the net.

“Residents at this end of the borough often lose out on funding because there is a perception that it is all bankers and brokers up here. We work with families on local estates struggling to make ends meet every day and they need help on the doorstep as much as families do in Brixton and Stockwell” says David.

Services don’t stop at 5 years or 5pm

Coin Street family and children’s centre is unusual amongst other Lambeth children’s centres in that we are not a school-led provision. We offer services for families with babies (from 3 months) and continue to work with them as children become pre-teens, teens and young adults. “Activities at Coin Street family and children’s centre do not stop at 5 years and/or 5pm on a Friday. We run activities across the weekend and during school holidays” says David.

“Unlike other children’s centres, a social enterprise runs Coin Street family and children’s centre. This means that we invest income generated from our range of commercial businesses into over 80 hours of free and affordable programmes and activities every week for families, children, young people, adults and older people.

Value for money partner

“We believe that the Coin Street family and children’s centre provides strong value for money as a partner to Lambeth Council. We have consistently increased the amount we invest as an organisation in children’s centre provision year on year as local authority funding has diminished.

“We hope we and our families will be able to convince Lambeth to review their proposals to ensure we are able to continue to provide families and children – including those most at risk – with the best start in life” says David.

These proposals do not affect our day nursery provision, which is funded separately through a mix of parent fees and funding.

The consultation with Lambeth Council is now open and will close on 10 February. If you are a Lambeth parent you now have an opportunity to have your say and influence what happens next year.

Get involved

If you are a Lambeth resident, Lambeth Council would like to hear your views. Here is how you can do this:

Complete the consultation survey online https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/K28FXN3 or ask one of the Coin Street team or our Help Desk team at the neighbourhood centre for a consultation form.  The consultation will close on the 10 February.

Contact your Lambeth local councillors If you live locally to Coin Street neighbourhood centre in Bishops Ward your Lambeth ward councillors are as follows:

Councillor Jen Mosley jmosley@lambeth.gov.uk 

Councillor Kevin Craig kcraig@lambeth.gov.uk

Councillor Ibrahim Dogus idogus@lambeth.gov.uk

You can also tell us your story of how accessing children’s centre support at Coin Street has made a difference for you. Email familyandchildrenscentre@coinstreet.org or call Hommie Beharry at Coin Street on 020 7021 1623

You can tell a friend and encourage them to fill out a consultation form to share their views.

Thank you for your support.