Beloved Children’s Centre in New Ash Green Set to Close, Sparking Concerns Among Families and Caregivers

Families in New Ash Green are facing a major setback as the beloved Children’s Centre in Meadow Lane is set to close its doors. Despite the efforts of the community, with hundreds of people rallying to save the center, it will soon be shut down.

This news has sparked concerns among families and caregivers who rely on the center’s services. Many of them do not have access to private transportation and will be unable to access similar services in neighboring towns and villages.

Sevenoaks District Councillor Laura Manston, who represents New Ash Green, expressed her disappointment over the closure, stating, “We worked really hard to save our children’s centre. I know how valuable this asset was to the community so I am devastated that we will be losing it and very concerned about the lack of support and safeguarding there will now be for families and children.”

The closure comes after a consultation by Kent County Council (KCC) last year to assess the usage of the center’s services. KCC claims it must adapt to “hard financial realities” and provide support to families in a more efficient manner, including through a combination of co-located services.

The closure of the center has been met with disappointment and frustration from community members. Green Party councillors Mark Lindop, Laura Manston, and Shani Manamperi started a petition that garnered over 400 signatures by the end of the consultation period on March 26.

Laura Manston also organized a protest and attended an outreach meeting with KCC to highlight the importance of the center to the community. Despite these efforts, the center will still be closing.

The center, which offered a range of services from weigh-ins to baby massage and messy play, was a vital resource for families. It provided integrated childcare, early learning, health services, family support, and parental outreach. However, over the years, services have been gradually cut, leading to the eventual closure.

The closure of the center will have a significant impact on the village, which is already facing cuts to services such as buses and community wardens. “It’s going to put our village in a very needy place,” said Laura Manston. She also mentioned that efforts will be made to see if some of the services can be relocated to other venues, such as the youth center.

In December, Kent County Councillor for Sevenoaks rural north east David Brazier mistakenly informed villagers that the center had been saved. However, this turned out to be an error, and the closure will go ahead as planned.

A spokesperson for KCC stated, “The planned closure follows an extensive review to ensure we can continue providing community services in various ways to everyone who needs them – despite the pressures of stretched budgets and soaring costs.” They also emphasized the importance of adapting to “hard financial realities” and evolving to provide support to families in a more efficient manner.

The closure of the New Ash Green Children’s Centre is a blow to the community, but efforts will be made to continue providing support to families through other means. As the spokesperson for KCC stated, “We can keep doing things – just differently.”

The text and images in this article are generated with the assistance of AI and may contain errors. Please verify any important information as we cannot accept any responsibility for incorrect information.

Scroll to Top