Anonymous artist uses their work to help save family centres in Chichester and Bognor Regis

An anonymous artist is using their work to help try and save Children and Family Centres in West Sussex.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 6:08 pm

The art has been placed at the front of the centres in Bognor, Chichester and Felpham, with a further image at a playground in Felpham.

West Sussex County Council is proposing to redesign its Early Years service, saving £1.95m by 2022/23.

It says the aim is to ensure the services reach the most vulnerable children and families in the county, helping them as early as possible to make sure they don’t head down the social care route.

An anonymous artist uses her work to show the importance of West Sussex County Council's family centres

The council aims to focus support where it is needed most, working more closely with schools to identify problems and provide help.

Of the 43 children and family centres in the county, the proposal is for 11 to remain open, running full-time and incorporating the Find It Out youth advice centres.

A friend of the artist said: “They are saying that support will be redirected and provided in other more targeted ways, but it is not completely clear how this will happen.

“Recent reports into Early Years support have shown how much these centres and groups make a difference to the community and to the health of families and young children.

An anonymous artist uses her work to show the importance of West Sussex County Council's family centres

“The council say they have widely promoted the community consultation survey about these changes but many families are unaware of the proposed changes and have not seen this information.

“They say the Children Centres are under used by the community, but where are they getting these figures from as they have all been closed/no groups have been running for over a year!

“Our friend has put up the protest artwork in order to make people aware of what’s going on.”

“The council are talking about these changes as a positive step, but they are actually taking away important services and valued resources from our community.

“They argue that they make most difference in targeted support, but it is not easily to identify or quantify how much the Children Centres and groups support and help families.

“Research has shown that this type of provision is the foundation for positive outcomes for families.

“They say that there are other groups and support that can be accessed in the community but it is not the same kind of rich multi-resource provision that is available at the Children and Family Centres.

“It’s been a really hard past year for parents and now that things are starting to open up again we find that important resources for families are being taken away permanently.”

Consultation on the proposals ended in May.