Parents Urged to Have Their Say over Planned Cuts to “Vital” Children’s Services across Sutton Coldfield

Public Meeting: 10am, Monday 17 July, Mere Green Community Centre

Five popular children’s centres in Sutton Coldfield are facing closure and a reduction in services following major changes to nursery and early years provision across Birmingham.

Baby Massage class

Baby Massage class

Under the new proposals, the Deanery, Four Oaks Green and Bush Babies Children’s Centres could shut their doors for good. New Hall Children’s Centre would be open all year round and Holland House Children’s Centre would offer sessional activities.

A range of services would be provided at various venues across the town. But leaders at the Sutton Locality Children’s Centres, which runs the five centres, are concerned about the impact the proposed changes will have on baby clinics, antenatal classes and post-natal classes. Some areas of Sutton would have limited access to services due to limited public transport arrangements.

As part of its public consultation, Birmingham City Council is hosting several public forums over the next few weeks to ask parents who use the facilities, which venues should open or close and their preferred opening times. Because the Sutton Coldfield forum falls in the school holidays, Sutton Locality Children’s Centres is holding its own meeting on Monday July 17 at 10am at Mere Green Community Centre, and is calling on parents, councillors and Andrew Mitchell MP to support their local centres. Birmingham City Council have now confirmed that Council Officers will also attend the meeting.

Sue Bailey, strategic lead for Sutton Coldfield Locality Children’s Centres and assistant headteacher at Arthur Terry School, said:

“These cuts will really hit our families. The proposals would see some long established and very successful services close and venues that have become very popular in terms of delivering health services, no longer in use. Coupled with another substantial budget cut, this will mean a reduction in the support given to our families.

“The proposals outlined show a lack of understanding of our community needs This local consultation is an opportunity for families to find out more about the proposals and have their say . We fully appreciate the need to have services located in our areas of most need, but we are concerned about access due to limited public transport arrangements to some centres and an uneven distribution of services across Sutton.”

The Sutton Locality Children’s Centres aim to provide access to a wide range of services and information for parents and families with an under five , to ensure every child gets the best start in life. They work closely with a wide range of partners – NHS, schools, nurseries, libraries, voluntary organisations, churches and community groups.

Richard Gill CEO of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP), which holds Governance for the Children’s Centres, added:

“As a locality, true collaboration across five different Centres has been very successful in meeting the diverse needs of families with an under five in Sutton. The teams have worked hard to support our families and many of our services have been co-located and co-delivered with health for a while.  

“Therefore, all involved have major concerns about the impact this will have on the many families who rely on such services and we are calling on the support of parents and stakeholders to ensure these services are not reduced so we can continue to meet their needs.

“We would encourage parents to read the proposals, think about what services they want in Sutton and where and then complete the consultation.”

One concerned parent said:

“To get from Boldmere with my twins in a double buggy to New Hall would be almost impossible. I have no car and this journey would involve at least two buses and a long walk. I also have my older child to walk to nursery and to collect.”

The consultation document can be found at www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/people-1eyconsultation Paper copies are also available at all our centres and activities and available on the 17th.

There will also be a number of open forum events.

Date: 10 July
Time: 10:30 am -12;30pm
District: Erdington
Location: Erdington Library

Date: 18th July
Time: 10:30 am -12:30 pm
District: Perry Barr
Location: Alexander Stadium

Date: 1st August
Time: 10:30 am– 12;30 pm
District: Sutton Coldfield
Location: Mere Green Community Centre

Following the end of the consultation – on August 19 – views recommendation will be made to the BCC cabinet in September on how services will be delivered.

Anybody wishing to find out more, should email Sue Bailey at: sbailey@arthurtery.bham.sch.uk or via Sutton Locality Children’s Centres’ Facebook page.

Sutton Locality Children’s Centres run the following programmes:

Antenatal support
Baby Signing
Breastfeeding support
Childcare
Family Support
First Aid courses
Healthy Start Vitamins
Introduction to Solids
New Birth Home Visits/ Membership of Sutton Locality Children’s Centre
Postnatal support
Toy Library
Young Parents group

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