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£250k plan for York children’s centre
ALMOST £250,000 could be spent on refurbishing a council building in York to provide a base for looked-after children in the city.
The proposals have been drawn up by City of York Council with the aim of creating a centre of expertise for youngsters in the authority’s care to have contact with their parents, as it looks to cut £204,000 from its budget for the service by the end of 2013/14.
A report which will go before Coun Janet Looker, cabinet member for education, children and young people’s services, next week said the work at a council-owned property in Nursery Drive is estimated to cost £248,000, of which £58,000 would come from the authority and the rest would be borrowed.
Officers said contact arrangements for looked-after children were currently split across the city, and providing a single centre would cut travelling costs and ensure more space was available.
The Press revealed this week how the council is also set to approve outsourcing the operation of its Wenlock Terrace children’s home for youngsters in its care to the private sector as it looks to make savings in its children’s residential care budget.
“The proposed building is currently a surplus property and has been identified as having the potential for reuse to provide a council service,” said the report by Richard Hartle, head of finance within the adults, children and education directorate, and asset management and property head Philip Callow.
“If the building is suitable, this will take precedence over selling on the open market. A feasibility study has been undertaken and confirmed it could be adapted to accommodate the required facilities, with ten family rooms proposed, together with reception, offices, two kitchens and baby-change and toilet provision.”
The report said operating from a single centre would allow “high-quality supervised contact time” between children and their parents and be more accessible by public transport, as well as reducing travel costs for council staff. It said continuing to hold contact meetings at various locations, including children’s centres, would “waste staff time in unnecessary journeys”.