CHILDREN'S services in Abingdon lost last year due to county funding cuts are set to return to the town.

Behind the revival is a community group called Abingdon Carousel, which was set up to save the South Abingdon Children's Centre after it shut its doors in April 2017.

Following a business plan submitted by the group, Oxfordshire County Council agreed in June to hand over £35,500 to help the centre relaunch some of its services, and a £90,000 grant has been pledged by Abingdon Town Council to be paid out over the next three years.

Project co-ordinator Gemma Clack was appointed in January to take on the management of the Caldecott Close centre.

She said: "I used to use it probably twice a week when my children, who are three and five, were younger and loved it.

"I think that personal experience makes me passionate about the centre and we are going to basically be trying to put back what was lost."

Mrs Clack added that, 12 months on, there was still a strong local need for the services they will offer - which will include drop in stay and play sessions, youth groups, a partnership with the Citizen's Advice Bureau and healthy cooking classes.

The mother-of-two said: "It was incredibly important and a really good source of support. A lot of people have contacted us wanting to know what was happening."

In March the charity concluded negotiations with Oxfordshire County Council, which owns the building, and Caldecott School, which leases it from the authority.

Mrs Clack said the group are now waiting for the lease to be drawn up for the building and hope to open by late spring/early summer.

Town councillor Samantha Bowring, who is part of Abingdon Carousel, said: "We've hired our core staff and have volunteers in place so it's just waiting on the final signing off from the council and we're ready to go."

She added: "It's about making sure the next generation of parents get access to the same support, though it is more reliant on volunteers than it was before."

Oxfordshire County Council stopped funding 31 of the county’s 44 children’s centres from last April.

North Abingdon Children’s Centre also shut last February due to the cuts.

Abingdon Carousel succeeded in bidding for a share of a £1m pot set aside to help centres keep going.

To share plans for the centre with residents Abingdon Carousel will have displays from today in the Bury Street pop-up shop, with parents encouraged to come to chat, as well as anyone interested in volunteering to find out more between 11am and 2.30pm from Wednesday until Saturday. For more visit