Tag Archives: B31

Save Charles House Petition Hand In Tomorrow

Save Charles House campaign will hand in the petition against its possible closure to the council during their meeting tomorrow.
Councillor Andy Cartwright will submit the petition to the council meeting on behalf of the campaign and it would be great for people to be there when it happens.

The meeting runs from 2pm-8pm tomoroow (Tues 6th December). The parents campaign have a facebook group and if you want to get involved with the campaign either ask to join the group, or you can email charleshouseparents@gmail.com

B31 Voices has been following the campaign closely and has organised the petition. You can read more about Charles House and find parents’ testimonies of the service there.

In addition to Charles House, 4 other homes face closure. Cambourne House in Aston has a parents campaign, if you use the service or want to help them, email us at BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com and we’ll put you in contact. If you are a parent or staff member at one of the other homes, we would encourage you to put together a campaign. With enough pressure we can make the council reconsider their plans entirely. We can help you to advertise the campaign and support you with ideas and experience.

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Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts Newsletter

· At our last meeting we all agreed that the November 30th strikes, the city centre demonstration and rally at the NIA had been very successful. Congratulations to all concerned! You can read our report from the day and see more photos here

· We were very pleased to have two parents from Charles House at our last meeting. They have a pledge from Councillor Les Lawrence that he will attend to meet parents next Friday at 12.30pm. The press will most likely be there. The next day, 10th December, there will be a street stall on Kings Norton Green, meet at 10.30am, where they also plan to visit the local Councillor’s surgery.

· We had a first discussion about the problem of having three pro-cuts council candidates in Bournville and other local wards at the May elections. A representative from the Green Party attended and confirmed the offer of a no-cuts collaborative approach. Various views were put forward on this and it was agreed to re-discuss the issue at our next meeting and come to a decision. Despite being invited, a representative from the Labour Party did not attend.

· We agreed to make a special free offer to Charles House parents for our upcoming social on December 15th. The updated flyer is attached. You will see that bar food will be available.

· Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 14th December, venue to be confirmed.

You can contact Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts by emailing

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Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts N30 Report

Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts did a tour of the main picket lines in our area this morning; Lifford Refuse Depot, Lifford House, The Blood Service and the Cotteridge Church Centre, before joing the main march in town. At each location, there was a constant honking of horns to show support. There was barely any negativity from passers-by. There was a good, confident and determined mood on the picket lines. We got the feeling that although the government is not crumbling just yet, our side is beginning to get its act together. The ConDems had better watch out.
We will continue trying to unite workplace/union struggles with local public service and community issues; unity of service providers and consumers in struggle is the best way to end divisions fostered by the government, and is also the best way to win. Our current focus is ensuring that Charles House stays open, but when any further union action comes up in future, we will be there as well.

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Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts Nov/Dec activities

Activities agreed at last night’s planning meeting. Please help out where you can.

Charles House;

Mon 21st Nov; 7pm – Lobby of Cllr Les Lawrence. Ward Committee, Hamstead House

Sat 26th Nov; 10-2pm Cotteridge Church Centre Xmas Fair (check time we turn up)

Sat 10th Dec; 11 – 1 – Street stall at Kings Norton Green

Thur 19th Jan; 7pm – Kings Norton Ward Committee, St.Pauls JI School, Pool Farm
Also, please fill in the petitions which you can find at the end of this post

Birmingham against the cuts Public Meeting 24th Nov at the Council House 7pm

Sat 19th Nov; 12-2pm – Leafleting in town centre, outside Waterstones, near the Bull, alongside TUC day of action.

Mon 21st Nov; 2.45pm – leafleting Cotteridge JI school parents

4.30pm – leafleting at Kings Norton Station – car park entrance

Tue 22nd Nov; 2.45pm – leafleting Bournville JI school
4.30pm – leafleting Bournville Station

Wed Nov 30th; most of the day! Huge public sector strikes over pension attacks
7am – probable picket at Lifford House, maybe picket at Lifford Refuse depot even earlier, probable pickets at Connexions – Northfield and other places.

9am – protest at Cotteridge Church Centre. Be there with our banner!

10am – Trade Union rally outside University main gates, opposite Fire Station.

11am – Demo assembly Lionel St, town Centre

1.30pm – Rally at the NIA

(Sat 26th Nov; Waterstones, further Trade Union leafleting 12-2pm)

Lifford House lobbying

Fri 18th Nov; 5pm – lobby of Councillor Dawkins. Woodlands Park Rd.
Monday 5th Dec; 7pm – lobby of Cllr Dow, Selly Park Tech College for Girls.

Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts next meetings

Wed 23rd Nov; 7.30pm – Special meeting of SACAC. One item on agenda – Nov 30th! Cotteridge Church Centre.
Thur 1st Dec; 7.30pm, Stirchley Community Centre. Elm room. There will be a proposal put to the meeting; “This group agrees to have joint campaign/candidate with the Green Party, on a no-cuts basis, in the May 2012 local elections. This is to be in the Bournville, and possibly Kings Norton and Northfield, wards”

Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts Social!

Thur 15th or Fri 16th Dec; at the British Oak, Stirchley, with Naomi Paul (Comedienne) and “No More Numbers” (GreenDay) band – to be confirmed. Any more talent amongst our supporters?
(We need to raise £££ to pay for printing and other expenses)

Cotteridge Church Elderly Day Centre
No news is good news? Some money seems to be coming in for the next few months


Academy News

KNHS voted to go with ARK. Maybe delay till next September. Debts paid off by BCC before conversion? No news of Hawkesley JI. West Heath JI?

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Cuts “Consultation” Meeting in Longbridge

Another so-called consultation meeting was held today in Longbridge, for local people to consult on the council’s proposed budget.

The council officer told those in attendance that Birmingham City Council had already decided they need to make £65 million worth of cuts but wanted local people to help them decide which bits they should cut and which bits they should save.

No one from the public supported the platform and many of those in attendance were service users and carers. There was also a sizeable turnout from the Labour Party and Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts and some UNISON members.

Parents from Charles House, a service which offers respite care for disabled children, told the meeting that getting respite care meant the difference between families staying together or their children having to go into care. Most of the parents had to fight an average of 5 years to get a place yet the council have accused the capacity service of being under-used. One of the parents had 18 rejections from foster carers who didn’t have the skills to support their child safely yet the council wants to close Charles House and provide parents with respite from foster carers instead.

A number of local people involved in or supported by services funded by “supporting people” pointed out that the savings made by providing preventative services far outway the short term gain of cutting those services.

Questions were raised by Richard Burden MP as to why councillors were not prepared to be politically accountable and why they wouldn’t question the budgets handed to them by central government, as well as on academies, connexions and putting finance before the rights of children. Councillor Ian Cruise raised the issue of some children’s centres having 20% cuts locked into their budgets for next year.

People also raised the question of how much has been spent on consultants. None of the questions raised were answered, but many individuals were offered private one to ones after the meeting and vague promises of how concerns would be followed up.

Despite resistance from the supposedly independent chair Chris Khamis, who wanted feedback to be taken in focus groups and selectively recorded by scribes, the meeting was able to pass two motions which were both carried with a few abstentions and none against.

Motion 1
This meeting rejects these £65 million of cuts as politically motivated and non-acceptable.

Motion 2
This meeting opposes all the cuts Birmingham City Council is proposing for the 2012/13 budget as politically motivated. We further call for the reinstatement of all jobs and services cut as part of the 2011/12 budget in particular the allowances removed as part of the new contract, which savagely cut the pay of some of the lowest payed council staff.

Report from Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts. Kings Heath and Moseley against the Cuts will be attending the consultation meeting on Wednesday in Kings Heath, and would love you to join them. There are also further meetings around the city – do get along to one to oppose these cuts.

See also a report from B31 Blog with more quotes and information from the meeting

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Cotteridge anti-cuts stall report

This morning, a tremendously successful street stall was held at the Cotteridge island by the “Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts” group, in alliance with the parents from Charles House. We distributed a leaflet demanding the home stays open and filled up our petition boards to overflowing with signatures from passers-by. We were also distributing the “Birmingham against the Cuts” leaflet, which calls for support for the November 30th strike and advertises the public meeting at the Council house on November 24th.
This local group is simultaneously campaigning on; the Cotteridge day centre for the elderly, the moves to academy status in three local schools, re-opening Merrishaw Community Day Nursery, the pension strikes, the local NHS, the Council “consultation” exercise on the cuts, and now Charles House! It is all getting a bit much and we need some new people to help out. Anyone who lives in the Stirchley, Cotteridge, Kings Norton, or Northfield area, please get in touch!
stirchleyanticuts@gmail.com

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Save Charles House

A packed emergency meeting of parents and supporters was held yesterday at Charles House. This is based in West Heath and provides respite care for disabled children, including such things as autism. It takes children from all parts of the city and provides expert, quality care.
The meeting was addressed by the Council official responsible for such provision, Eleanor Brazil (Director CYPF), who explained that “savings” (cuts) were behind the threat to this Council service. She said its occupancy rate was only 57% and that was similar to another home in the city. Foster care might be an alternative.

When it came to question time for parents, a host of heartfelt, angry and tearful comments were made. It was stressed time and time again that without the respite care being delivered by Charles House, parents would not be able to cope. It would lead to family breakdowns, which would then cost the state even more.
Most parents said that they had found it very difficult to get their children into the house for respite care; it was time consuming and bureaucratic. If it was made easier and more transparent, the take up rate would very quickly climb to 100%.
As regards to fostering care, one parent said that she had been turned down by eighteen potential foster parents because they didn’t have the skills needed to look after her child. At Charles House they do have those skills! Incidentally Birmngham City Council wants to cut at least 23 Fostering Social Workers currently based at Lifford House!
No, the whole proposal to close or merge Charles House is misconceived nonsense. It should be kept open in its own right with a full level of provision. In reply to the economic argument, the Council is spending £200 million this year in repayments to the banks, via the government. As it was the banks that caused the economic problems behind all of this in the first place, let them wait for their money! The Council has also spent £186 million on Capita. What is the Council getting for this, and is it more important than respite care for disabled children and parents?

There was huge support expressed for a campaign to save Charles House by the parents. Several Labour (current and potential) Councillors were there to offer support. And so were Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts, who pointed out the lessons of the Merrishaw closure and offered a few ideas on how to win this time.
The “consultation”period ends on 6th January 2012. There is now a large breathing space to build up such a campaign, that this vital resource will be left alone.

by Bob Whitehead and Chris Hughes

There will be a “Save Charles House” group meeting. Next Thursday at 10.30am, 10th November, At Charles House.

There are two petitions we would ask everyone to sign:
here

and here

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