Rutland County Council has approved plans to relocate Visions Children’s Centre to Oakham Library, increasing student capacity at Catmose College and providing an enhanced, joined-up service for local residents.
The decision was taken at the council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday, and will see the children’s centre move from its current location at Catmose College to the centre of Oakham by summer 2017.
Visions Children’s Centre provides a range of activities and services for children aged 0-11 years, including drop-in sessions for families seeking advice and specialist support for new parents.
With demand on pupil places expected to rise in the county in coming years, relocating Visions to Oakham Library will create space towards a target of 150 additional secondary school places at Catmose College while also allowing the council to improve its offer for families who use the centre.
Councillor Richard Foster, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People at Rutland County Council, said: “Relocating the children’s centre to Oakham Library is a really positive step and means that local families can get the most out of both services at one shared location, closer to the centre of town.
“The library service will benefit from a regular flow of family visits and improved facilities for children’s activities and events, while users will benefit from having both library and Visions staff on hand to provide family and learning support.
“It also means that Catmose College can improve its offer to parents of older children by increasing capacity to make room for additional secondary school places at the campus.”
Under the plans approved by cabinet, the relocation of Visions will coincide with scheduled improvement work to Oakham Library, which is due to undergo refurbishment from January 2017.
This work will now include the addition of a modular extension to the library building to house the children’s centre, providing improved facilities for children, families and regular library users.
The library will be closed for the period of the refurbishment and the service will be provided in the museum. Staff will be reallocated to support this provision and the hours extended to minimise disruption.
Councillor Terry King, Leader and Portfolio Holder for Development, said: “Combining the children’s centre move with essential works that are already due to be carried out at Oakham Library will help to simplify the relocation process and reduce overheads. We aim to complete both the refurbishment and relocation with minimal disruption to service users and will be in a position to share more detailed plans with them soon, so they know exactly what to expect.
“It is a statutory requirement to consult on changes to a Children’s Centre and this process began in January, involving Visions colleagues, parents and partners.
“We will ensure further engagement and consultation throughout relocation process.”
Work on the library is due to commence in January 2017. The move is expected to be complete by May 2017.