On Monday 5 October, Victoria Prentis visited the Butterfly Meadows Children’s Centre in Bloxham. Victoria was given a tour of the facility and met some of the many mothers and children who use the centre. She saw first-hand how the centre is used by families as both a venue for socialising, and as an important source of information and support.

Since Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) announced plans to close many of the county’s Children’s Centres, Victoria has worked to ensure that vital frontline services are maintained in areas of deprivation, where they are so desperately needed. She has already met with representatives of OCC on several occasions. Last month she took members of the Children, Education and Families team to listen to the views of staff and parents at a Children’s Centre in the constituency. She will soon be having a further meeting with Cllr Ian Hudspeth, the leader of OCC, to discuss options for the Council, which is required to make considerable savings in its budget. Later this week, Victoria will be visiting a centre in Banbury.

Victoria said, “I have seen for myself how our Children’s Centres deliver far more than a space for children to meet and play – they offer professional advice and expertise, guidance to troubled families, and generally a supportive face and attitude for all who enter their doors. I have seen many examples of how the centres have been a vital resource to parents and children across the constituency.

I am pleased that Oxfordshire County Council will consult extensively on this issue before making any decisions. I understand the public consultation is in progress, and I encourage my constituents to take part in it. I will continue to monitor the matter closely.