A £3.1 million support centre for children living with complex learning needs could be built in Pontllanfraith.
Plans to replace the children’s centre in Energlyn, which is no longer fit for purpose, have been in the works since October 2016.
The new facility is proposed on land near the vacant Pontllanfraith Comprehensive School, with the wider site also earmarked for housing by Caerphilly County Borough Council.
Children’s charity Action for Children currently occupies the existing centre, with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) providing staff and covering running costs.
But a “vital” upgrade is needed with office space and treatment rooms limited in size, while maintenance costs for the hydrotherapy pool are increasing.
A council report says: “The needs of the children accessing this service are becoming more complex and the numbers of children requiring services of this nature are rising due to advances in medical interventions leading to an increase in life expectancy.
“Therefore, it is vital at this time that we commence plans to upgrade the services before they become completely unsustainable.”
The council has set aside £3.1 million for the project, though a centre with more services such as contact facilities for children and their families could cost £4 million.
While unable to commit capital money to properties they do not own, ABUHB has committed to spend around £400,000 installing specialist equipment, including a new hydrotherapy pool.
“The additional funding will provide more space for professional both on a permanent and drop in basis that will extend the range of services that can operate out of the centre,” says the report.
Additional space could also allow the centre to operate on a “hub” basis allowing staff from social care and wider council services to have a presence at the centre.
But the report warns that if additional funding is not secured, then a review into what facilities the centre could provide would be undertaken.
If approved by the council’s cabinet on April 10, the plans will go out to a formal consultation.