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County Council Approve New £3.3m Children’s Home

Published on: 27 Jul, 2023
Updated on: 28 Jul, 2023

By Chris Caulfield

local democracy reporter

A new £3.3 million children’s home in Surrey was approved this week.

The county council approved a plan to replace and modernise an outdated building in Cobham with a new-build four-bed and additional two-bed home as part of its ambition to ensure every looked-after child can choose to live in the county.

The existing home was considered “no longer suitable by modern standards” in both financial and environmental costs but will remain open once the replacement has been completed.

The Cobham development is part of the county council’s wider plan to achieve 80 per cent self-sufficiency across fostering, supported accommodation, and services.

Cllr Sinead Mooney

Introducing the proposals at the Tuesday, July 25, Surrey County Council cabinet meeting, was Sinead Mooney (Con, Staines), lead member for Children and Families.

She said the council was “absolutely committed” to being the best corporate parents – with well-supported children and young people who felt connected to, and rooted in, their local communities.

Cllr Mooney said: “Safety and security of a stable loving home for all your children is fundamental for them to achieve all in life.”

She added that it was right for the council to aspire to be a leader in “sufficiency for looked after children” and for “…Surrey’s communities to be places where care-experienced children and young people feel welcome, develop, and thrive, and in time progress to a successful adulthood”.

The homes are part of an overall drive to have modern accommodation for children awaiting foster carers, or those who are better suited outside traditional family environments.

In total, there will be 15 modernised children’s homes across Surrey.

Construction on the first three, in Epsom and Walton, has begun with the council expecting children to start living there from September.

The two new homes in Cobham are expected to be ready in January 2026.

Cllr Clare Curran

Cllr Clare Curran (Con, Bookham and Fetcham West), lead member for Education and Learning, said: “It’s really great now to see things coming, actually, to fruition.

“Having visited the new children’s homes they are wonderful places, really quality, but really homely and not at all institutional.

“We call them children’s homes but actually they are homes for children, not large institutional buildings at all.

“Some children know a family setting just isn’t right and it’s our responsibility to have really high-quality homes in Surrey where they can flourish.”

Conservative council leader Tim Oliver (Weybridge) said the council’s capital budget was under extreme pressure but that it was only right to ensure children had somewhere they could describe as a good-quality family home.

Cllr David Lewis

Cllr David Lewis (Con, Cobham), lead member for Finance and Resources, said: “The existing home has been the home for many children for many years. “Many will have fond memories of growing up and living in that venue.

“But having looked at it, it’s an old building and probably does not meet the needs of today’s requirements. “We want these homes to be a family setting a family home environment.”

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Responses to County Council Approve New £3.3m Children’s Home

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    July 27, 2023 at 8:53 pm

    3.5 million for six bed home! Thats very expensive bedrooms! Perhaps new application for more reasonable tenders should be sort!

  2. Keith Francis Reply

    July 28, 2023 at 9:42 am

    Perhaps Cllr Curran, there is no real news about the seven SCC Care Homes it closed, including the one in her village for which now, after the event, a “Strategy Plan” is being formulated. Can SCC never do things in the right order?

    And what about the former Bookham Youth Club which was closed over five years ago as the site might be used for a replacement doctors’ surgery plus housing?

    The above examples they are costing SCC money as they provide no income. Also in that category is the former Debenhams shop in Winchester. What is happening to that was discussed in secret at the recent SCC Statutory Investment Board meeting.

    Travel for “SEND” children to schools also appears to have got in a mess that SCC somehow can’t manage. It is now blaming a change in government guidelines.

  3. Sheila Atkinson Reply

    July 30, 2023 at 11:07 pm

    I remember visiting a children’s home in Godalming just before Christmas 1963. My then boyfriend, now my husband, had two younger sisters living there, we went to deliver their Christmas presents.

    When the lady in charge opened the door all the little children came too, to see who was visiting. We were ushered into the playroom with his sisters.

    Having come from a large loving family I found it all very sad but was moved to tears when my boyfriend, who had been in a children’s home himself, produced a large bag of sweets and handed them to the lady in charge as he knew what it was like to be one of those left out when visitors came.

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