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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.