Parents and supporters of the current campaign to Save Charles House took their message directly to the council house earlier this week.
Cllr Carole Griffiths (Lab, Longbridge) delivered their petition against proposals to move the facility from West Heath to Erdington to the full Birmingham City Council meeting on Tuesday (4th April).
And a group of supporters also attended the meeting, gathering extra petition signatures outside, asking a question of Cabinet member Brigid Jones and making sure all councillors were aware of their message.
Campaigners battling to save Charles House respite home for autistic youngsters in south Birmingham. pic.twitter.com/up35iSMQVQ
— Neil Elkes (@neilelkes) April 4, 2017
Supported by local councillors Carole Griffiths, Andy Cartwright (Lab, Longbridge) and Julie Johnson (Lab, Weoley), several other councillors stopped to speak to the group and offer their support, including Cllr Mary Locke (Lab, Bournville).
Campaign supporters are against the proposed move as they believe it will be too disruptive to the children with severe learning disabilities who currently receive respite care at Charles House.
Following a consultation which ended last month, the future of Charles House as it is still hangs in the balance, with service users and staff all waiting to find out its fate.
Hayley Fellows, the mother of a Charles House service user, stood up before the full council meeting and asked Cllr Brigid Jones when the decision will be made.
She said: “We understand that the consultation concerning city efficiency savings terminated last month and as such, decisions have been made. Is Charles House, the respite provision situated in South Birmingham moving to North Birmingham, and on what date will the service users and practitioners be informed of the decision?”
In response, Cabinet member for Children, Families and Schools Cllr Jones said: “The proposal was part of the budget that went through just over a month ago and, as you say, it’s not a proposal to close Charles House, as we’ve seen in the past – it’s a proposal to potentially move it to a newer building that’s become available… I am aware that parents, service users and staff have raised a number of key concerns and objections to the proposals that have been consulted on.
Cllr Jones said that the responses were currently being collated and assessments made and confirmed that she had not yet made a final decision. She said: “I do appreciate what a web valued service it is and that it is a lifeline for so many service users and their wider families. And I know they really do welcome the dedication and commitment of the staff who work with them and support their loved ones.”
And the cabinet member reassured that her primary concern when making her decision would be the children affected. She said: “I’m determined that whatever decision I do end up taking … it will be one that will benefit the children that use the service now and future service users and their families and carers.”
Cllr Jones said she would welcome further discussion with councillors or service users who wished to speak further and said that a decision should be made by the end of the month.
Thanks to the Save Charles House campaign for images. Click to enlarge: