Families in Brent have welcomed Barnardo’s to the borough after the children’s charity took over the running of 14 children’s centres.
Barnardo’s, which began managing the centres on Monday October 5, has committed to providing the very best support to all local children, young people, families and carers after entering into a four-year partnership with Brent Council.
To mark the start of the new contract Councillor Ruth Moher, Brent Council’s lead member for children and young people, joined Lynn Gradwell, director of Barnardo’s in London, at Willow Children’s Centre in Wembley to meet parents and children and see the services which staff are delivering at the centre.
According to the charity, regular sessions and activities will continue as usual over the coming months, and existing staff and managers have transferred over to Barnardo’s.
Lynn Gradwell said: “We are so pleased to be given the opportunity to build relationships with young families in this diverse and fascinating borough.
“Children are at the centre of all we do at Barnardo’s, and by taking on the running of these 14 centres we will be able to help many more young Londoners enjoy a good start in life.
“We are proud to welcome the experienced and dedicated staff members who have transferred to us from Brent Council, and I am looking forward to working closely with them over the coming months and years.”
Councillor Ruth Moher said: “I am pleased we can offer such fantastic support to so many children and families in our borough.
“Barnardo’s is a trusted and respected organisation in Brent and parents will be pleased that the charity is managing the children’s centres.”
Mum Joy Nwandwei, whose one-year-old daughter Chisom attends Willow Children’s Centre in Wembley, said: “I come to the centre all time. I’ve been able to make friends with the other mothers and my baby has also picked up a lot from coming here. It’s important to have centres like these in the community.”
The four-year contract will reportedly save Brent Council around £750,000.
The council has experienced significant reductions in central government funding, which contributes to running services such as children’s centres, and must save around £54m over the next two years.
The council will continue to oversee the centres’ performance and Ofsted inspections.
The 14 children’s centres which have transferred to Barnardo’s are:
- Wykeham Primary
- Wembley Children's Centre
- Alperton Children's Centre
- Preston Park Children's Centre
- The Welcome Children's Centre
- Granville Plus Children’s Centre
- Three Trees Children’s Centre
- Hope Children's Centre
- Harmony Children's Centre
- St Raphael’s Children’s Centre
- Church Lane Children's Centre
- Mount Stewart Children's Centre
- Willow Children’s Centre
Three other children’s centres - Fawood, Curzon Crescent and Challenge House – are not part of the partnership agreement and will continue to be run by Brent Council.