Update: Please see comments, Charles House will not be closed! Great news.
On Saturday, parents and children from Charles House, crowded into the surgery of Kings Norton Councillor Steve Bedser (Lab), accompanied by Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts. After a long meeting, the attendees were very pleased to hear that Steve Bedser pledged to give full public support to the campaign, at ward and Council level.
Following the meeting, we all trooped out to do over an hour’s street stall activity on Kings Norton Green. As usual, there was often a queue of people ready to sign the ever-growing petition, and some of the passers-by were even considering coming to the social on Thursday.
This all followed a meeting with Councillor Les Lawrence the previous day, where he seemed to have appeased the parents a little as he told them to think positive (suggesting a positive result for them?) and promised a decision by January 10th. He made the right noises, saying that respite care provision was important. He also acknowledged that Charles House children are not suitable for respite care with foster carers.
However, a word of caution; similar reassuring noises were heard from Councillor Lawrence about Merrishaw Community Day Nursery earlier this year. There were allegations of scaremongering. Two other Tory councillors from Northfield then gave their backing to the nursery, but the the shutters suddenly went up and the toys were shipped out. The campaign to save Charles House will not rest until its future, with a full level of resourcing, is in black and white.
The next planning meeting of SACAC is this Wednesday, 6.15pm at the Stirchley Community Church, (canteen), Hazelwell St. Stirchley.
Bob Whitehead, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts
You can read more about the campaign to save Charles House on B31 Voices, including testimonies from parents, or in our own archive of posts.
If you want to get involved with the campaign, can email email@example.com or join their facebook group. There is also a campaign to save Cambourne House, a similar disabled childrens’ respite home in Aston, who have a facebook group.
2 responses to “Save Charles House, Kings Norton events”
As a parent of child using Charles House I’m relieved and happy today as its future is now more certain after Cllr Les Lawrence was asked this question at the Council meeting this afternoon.
The public consultation with regard to the proposals for the Council’s budget plan’s for 2012/13 came to an end on the 08 January.
I understand, based on this date, that before Christmas you gave a commitment to the parents of the young people currently attending Charles House that you would provide a firm answer to the result of the representations received, concerns raised and the highly thought of quality of service provision as to the future of this service.
Could you therefore indicate what the plans are for Charles House, its staff, the young people who are currently supported and their parents?
A significant number of comments, representations and consultation responses were received with regard to the provision of respite services to those young people, such as attending Charles House, indicating the value and importance of the service to their well-being, personal development and families.
The commitment shown by parents, staff and young people as expressed at the Northfield Ward Committee Meeting and at the meeting, as you detail in your question, was an important factor in the consideration of the future for Charles House.
I can therefore confirm that Charles House will continue to be a vital component in the overall provision of respite services. Already changes to the process by which places are provided have occurred, staffing profiles assessed, to enable improvements in the access to and provision of placements.
Therefore Charles House, which has on three separate occasions been judged by OfSTED as outstanding, will continue to provide high quality respite care for young people together with supporting their families underpinned by staff who are highly respected.
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