Nicky Hinchliff, Deputy Head of Adderley Nursery School and Children’s Centre, explains what the closure would mean for the local community. This what she said at the rally supporting the campaign to save the children’s centres on Saturday 22 July in Victoria Square.
Adderley, like the other affected children’s centres, is one of our best and most integrated settings, which currently brings together education, health and social care, voluntary, social and community enterprise.
Adderley Children’s Centre is situated in Saltley, in the Washwood Heath Ward, and has been there for 47 years. We connect with over 1000 families.
It has outstanding early years education at its heart. The children who transfer to our local primary schools achieve a Good level of Development at the end of their reception year in line with the National Average.
Relationships and trust are central to the interconnection with the community.
Adderley has achieved 100% of registration and engagement of its families.
Adderley families say we deliver an excellent service.
Saltley, like many areas across Birmingham, experiences many challenges including being in the highest indices of deprivation, experiencing poverty, unemployment, overcrowding in housing, mental health and many families on low income.
Families often arrive with low mood, depression and at their lowest ebb.
We support by building relationships and establishing trust.
As trust builds, families share with us their personal experiences and stories of isolation, low self-esteem, despair, poverty, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, abuse and heartbreak.
Our highly skilled and well trained staff identify the interventions necessary to support families’ life changes.
Integrating our partnership work with other services and organisations, we have established a strong network together to build self-esteem, resilience and hope.
We offer tried and tested intervention strategies including: one to one, group work, adult education and training.
In June it was announced that Adderley, one of 26 children’s centres, is to be closed or reutilised under the new Health and Wellbeing contract.
Birmingham City Council awarded the contract to Birmingham Community Healthcare Foundation Trust who are partnered with 3rd Sector organisations.
The new contract aims “to give every child in Birmingham an equal chance to have the best start in life so they can achieve their full potential”.
They state that fewer children in Birmingham are assessed as having a good level of development by the time they start school compared to the national average.
We at Adderley already achieve equality of opportunity for our families.
We at Adderley are already in line with the national average for the Good Level of Development
Birmingham City Council says their aim is to integrate services to improve outcomes for children and families.
So is it in the interest of families to lose the expertise of our outstanding provision?
We have a long, well tested model of integration so why have we been overlooked and ignored?
Adderley like all children’s centres presently hold cases that do not meet the threshold for social services, social worker support or city higher level Family Support teams. Our highly trained staff deal with cases that sit nowhere else.
Our family support workers co-ordinate a response and undertake complex preventative work. The current proposal means vulnerable children in Birmingham will be at significant risk from harm as integrated provision disappears from the picture.
Many young children across Birmingham are at significant risk.
We understand that funding received by the council has been significantly reduced. BUT this is a short term solution creating a long term disaster!
All our funding goes on frontline delivery. The loss of our services to families in terms of their health and wellbeing not forgetting education will be catastrophic .
Any short term savings will be negated by the long term cost to society.
OUR INTEGRATED PROVISION DOES NOT CREATE DEPENDENCY – OUR INTEGRATED PROVISION SCAFFOLDS.
WE ARE MORE THAN JUST A NURSERY – OUR INTEGRATED PROVISION ENSURES THAT individuals and families begin to believe, dream, grow, and succeed.
Surely this should be the goal for our next generations.