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Ipswich: Ormiston Children’s Centre to remain after county council U-turn

09:08 27 March 2014

Megan Williams with her son David Gatt, two and a half, who objected to Suffolk County Council

Megan Williams with her son David Gatt, two and a half, who objected to Suffolk County Council's plans to close the Ormiston Children's Centre.

The Ormiston Children’s Centre, which was tipped for closure at the end of this month, will remain open to offer some children’s services.

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The Ormiston Children and Families Trust’s children’s centre in Felixstowe Road provides a range of services for parents-to-be and families of under-fives.

However those who rely on it were left devastated earlier this month when Suffolk County Council decided against extending the charity’s contract.

It was proposed that the services, which include 16 different groups such as a breastfeeding workshop and speech and language sessions, would instead by run by the county council from other locations in the area.

However after liaising with families who use the centre, and the intervention of Ben Gummer MP, the council has agreed to continue running some services in the Ormiston building.

The reception will remain open and the ‘stay and play’ group will continue to run from there.

Other services will be delivered from venues across East Ipswich as part of the whole children’s centre provision for the east of the town; these include Rosehill Library and Hatfield Road Baptist Church.

Ormiston have said they are also considering the possibility of opening a nursery on the Felixstowe Road site and will be running a drop-in and play session every Tuesday morning from April 8.

Lisa Chambers, cabinet member for education skills and young people, said: “We were always going to continue running all of the current services, albeit from different venues. However, we have listened to parents, people who use the centre and Ben Gummer MP and found a workable solution that means we can keep using Felixstowe Road whilst also broadening the reach of the centre.

“Now, people across East Ipswich will be able to access these services in locations that are closer to them. That, on top of Ormiston’s proposal to create a nursery at their Felixstowe Road site, means greater choice and opportunities for the people who really need support to access it.

“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to arrive at this positive position.”

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