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The 35 children centres at risk of being closed by Kent County Council

Kent County Council has outlined plans to close 35 children’s centres under a far-reaching reorganisation of the way community services are provided.

The council is beginning a review of the way it organises a range of services it says could save £6m this year and because it estimates there is a £165m backlog of maintenance work it cannot afford.

Services provided for children and other vulnerable groups are at risk. Stock picture
Services provided for children and other vulnerable groups are at risk. Stock picture

While children’s centres are under threat, services provided for other vulnerable groups are also at risk, including adults with physical and learning disabilities.

Some of the county’s “Gateway” centres are also likely to be relocated to other sites.

KCC says that it has carefully considered how the closures could affect those who use them and has tried to ensure alternatives are not too far to get to and that public transport is available.

A small number of children’s centres could be relocated to other sites.

The review says there could be “more flexible outreach activities” and a drive to “making the most of existing and emerging digital technologies.”

But the authority accepts that it needs to save money as one of the measures to balance the council’s budget and reduce its carbon footprint.

KCC leader Cllr Roger Gough said: “The scope is significant but it has to be. Changes would mean we would have a more manageable and affordable number of buildings across Kent, which would help us to continue providing services for people in a variety of ways.”

He said the council had to safeguard itself against rising costs but the review also gave the council the chance to assess alternatives and examine if services were in the right place.

“Residents value our community services and change is difficult. However, we do need to look to adapt and evolve to make the best use of the resources and funding we have available and safeguard against rising costs.”

A ten-week consultation on the review begins today (Tuesday, January 17) and KCC has developed a framework that reflects how different parts of the county are affected by poverty, isolation and education levels.

Cllr Kelly Grehan has opposed the changes proposed by KCC. Photo: Dartford Labour Group
Cllr Kelly Grehan has opposed the changes proposed by KCC. Photo: Dartford Labour Group

Kent County Councillor for Dartford, Kelly Grehan, has opposed the proposed closures in her borough, labeling them as 'indefensible' and 'short-sighted'. You can complete the consultation here.

She said: "I will be opposing these changes, which I believe are indefensible. I understand KCC are in financial crisis, but this is so short-sighted. Every indication is that spending money on services and support for young families saves a lot of money later.

"I've been very frustrated about the scaling back of services from Temple Hill for some time and I think moving the services from Saint Edmund's Church to the library is a regressive mood.

"I believe being co-located with the GPs surgery and the church, which is delivering numerous services including a food bank and various groups and clubs, brings many advantages and opportunities for community cohesion. Also, being next to the school makes life easier for many parents to use it.

"I'm not convinced the library building is able to accommodate the needs of parents and is the right set up at all.

"I've sent a few questions in and will put my response to the consultation up as soon as I write it. I am also completely aghast at the closures of the Brent and Bridge Centres and will be opposing them."

There are 35 children centres at risk of being closed by KCC
There are 35 children centres at risk of being closed by KCC

These are the children centres and other services at risk:


Ray Allen Children’s Centre, Stanhope Road, Ashford

Little Explorers Children’s Centre, Tenterden

Bluebell Children's Centre, Hitchin


The Sunflower Children’s Centre, Eythorne

Blossom Children's Centre, Walmer

Dover Gateway (relocated to Dover Discovery Centre)

Community Centre (for adults with learning difficulties), Walmer


Greenlands at Darenth Children's Centre, Darenth

Maypole Children’s Centre, Joyden's Wood

Brent Children's Centre, Dartford

Temple Hill Children's Centre, Temple Hill

Dartford Bridge Learning and Community Campus, Dartford


Riverside Children’s Centre, Northgate

Swalecliffe Children’s Centre, Swalecliffe

Joy Lane Children’s Centre, Seasalter

Tina Rintol Children’s Centre, Hersden

Apple Tree Children’s Centre, Chartham

Northgate Hub (services for adults with disablities)


Shepway Youth Hub (Five)

Hawkinge Children's Centre

Dymchurch Children's Centre, Dymchurch

Lyddlestars Children’s Centre, Walland

Folkestone Sports’ Centre (adults with learning disabilities)


New Beginnings Children’s Centre, Whitehill

Gravesham Gateway, Pelham


Eastborough Children's Centre

Marden Children's Centre

Maidstone Adult Education Centre (relocating to Oakwood House)


Swanley Children's Centre

New Ash Green Children's centre

West Kingsdown Church of England Primary Children’s Centre

Spring House Children's Centre

Sevenoaks Leisure Centre (Adults with learning difficulties)


St Mary's Children's Centre, Abbey

Grove Park Children's Centre, Borden

Ladybird Children's Centre, Queensborough

Beaches Children's Centre, Sheppey East

New House Youth and Sports Centre


Callis Grange Children’s Centre, Broadstairs

Priory children’s centre, Ramsgate

Tunbridge Wells

Cranbrook Children's Centre

The Ark Children's Centre

Harmony Children's Centre,

Southborough Children's Centre

Tonbridge and Malling

Burham Children's Centre

Tonbridge Gateway

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