The Orchard Children’s Centre closed on 1 March. Along with 31 other centres, it is to be replaced by eight Children and Family Centres around the county.
“The Orchard will be linked to Witney Children's Centre and the services they provide. A final decision on what services this centre will provide has yet to be made. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org”
Cllr Katy Crowe mourns the loss of a valued service: Eynsham is lucky to have a number of fantastic volunteer-run baby and toddler groups, and long may they continue, but the Children’s Centre was different and served a very specific need within the village. It offered services from stay and play sessions, parenting and healthy lifestyle courses, breastfeeding support and first aid training to support for those experiencing post-natal depression and a great deal more.
As a new parent I knew I could access ad hoc support and advice about anything that was bothering me. The staff were always quick to offer help, or to refer me to my health visitor or GP if required. More often than not I just needed reassurance. I worry that the burden on our already stretched GPs and health visitors will now increase dramatically. I worry too about those families in the village and surrounding areas who relied on the more targeted help that the Children’s Centre also provided. Many thanks to the staff for their unfailing, valuable and much appreciated help and advice over the years. You will be missed.
Another mum adds: The Children's Centre was almost a lifeline for me in the early months after my first child (now 4) was born and we were having difficulties feeding. They've supported me at every stage, through baby massage, stay and play sessions, "Messy Mondays" (my son's favourite), and the Family Links course. And all without having to pay for it! The staff were fantastic and never made you feel like your problem wasn't important to them. It's sad my nine month old won't get to use this facility as she grows.