Parents, carers and supporters – who have campaigned to keep provision of a respite service for disabled children in South West Birmingham – are celebrating after being told that proposed changes will not go ahead.

Charles House in West Heath provides respite care services for children with severe learning disabilities.

Proposed relocation

Earlier this year, it was proposed that services provided at Charles House be moved across the city as part of Birmingham City Council’s budget reducing proposals.

The proposals would have seen a merger of staff and services at Charles House with another facility in Erdington.

Following a lengthy consultation where council officials listened to the views of staff, parents and carers and local politicians, and a campaign which saw parents petition the council and speak before a full council meeting, the decision has been taken not to relocate the service.

‘Too disruptive’

In a letter to parents, Assistant Director of BCC’s Children in Care Services, Andy Pepper wrote: “After consulting with Parents, staff and stake holders I have decided not to move the short break service at Charles House to Reservoir Road. It was clear from the consultation that this would be too disruptive at this time for children and their families who currently access short breaks.”

‘Tears of joy’

Louise Fage, from Selly Oak, was one of the parents who were active in the campaign. Her son, Owen, suffers from severe autism and hypermobility and takes breaks at Charles House. She said: “When I received the message this morning I cried! Tears of joy.

Louise added: “Charles House and their outstanding team mean the world to my son and I. We fought for our children and won! Thank you to everyone who continued to support us”

‘Delighted’

Cllr Julie Johnson, who supported the parents and staff, said: “Cllr Cartwright, Cllr Carole Griffiths and myself met with the parents and knew the impact that this closure would have.

“This is why we supported their petition to the council and we are extremely pleased with the outcome. I’m delighted for the parents and the children.”

Thanks to all who signed the petition or helped in any way!

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