Campaigners in Wandsworth have expressed concerns at the borough council's proposals for the Yvonne Carr Centre in Wandsworth Town.

Rachel Waites has started a petition in what she described as an attempt to save the children's centre and keep it open for all families - but Wandsworth Council has suggested campaigners have "misunderstood" the proposals for the centre.

Residents believe that the council's plan to restructure the centre will make it only accessible to select families, and have raised concerns that "stay and play" sessions for all at the centre could be at risk.

The petition read: "Stop the council from segregating our children and removing key services from our expanding and diverse community. The centre is a unique community space, bringing together families from all parts of the area. 92 per cent of children under 3 living in the area use it".

At the time of publishing, the petition had received just over 300 signatures.

But a Wandsworth Council spokesman insisted that the plans were to widen and expand services at the centre.

The spokesman commented: "Unfortunately these campaigners have completely misunderstood what is being proposed here. Contrary to what they are saying, our ambitious plans are to widen and expand services for young children and toddlers at this centre.

“Not only are we planning to continue offering the full range of services already in place at Yvonne Carr, it will also provide very important free nursery places for local two year olds and a much wider range of services for the whole family and slightly older children.”

The proposed change is part of the councils Thrive strategy, which forms the basis of the council’s approach to early years help, with a new team of officers in place to make sure it is delivered. It looks at the whole family and focuses on preventing problems rather than just reacting to them. Thrive aims to address inequalities so that all children start school with the same foundation. Families will be given the high quality services and interventions they need, when they need them.

Cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Sarah McDermott said: “Thrive represents a new approach to services in Wandsworth for families with young children. We recognise that support must be available for the whole family rather than just the child, and that at times all families may need a little extra help – not just those that would be eligible for traditional social services.

“Let us know what you think about the proposed changes and the new hubs to help us provide the services that young families say they need.”

Families can comment via an online consultation, or can go to one of three focus groups in November. For more information about the proposals click here.