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Andrew Mitchell making progress for Sutton’s Children’s Centres

Earlier this year Birmingham City Council proposed the closure or re-utilisation of all of Sutton Coldfield’s Children’s Centres. However, following forceful representations from the Royal Town’s MP and a summer of campaigning from parents and staff - Children’s Centres in the Royal Town are now looking safer.

Andrew Mitchell MP said: “I was extremely concerned to hear the original proposals for Early Years Health & Wellbeing for my constituency. The fact that the consultation was taking place during school holidays when many of my constituents affected by the proposals would be on holiday, showed a lack of willingness to be held accountable.

I was shocked that all this was being justified by the erroneous underlying assumption that Early Years Health & Wellbeing services should be focused only on areas of deprivation despite evidence showing that in reality they are of huge value to people of all backgrounds and conditions.

From the beginning, I made it absolutely clear that these important services save taxpayers’ money. They are extraordinarily valuable in helping families not to require access to statutory – and much more expensive – services.

However, I am pleased to report that my constituents responded in such numbers to the first consultation that Holland House has now been named as the Hub for Sutton Coldfield. This means that it will provide an all year round service with extended opening hours and that the most vulnerable children and families will be supported.

I am aware that another consultation will be underway regarding the future of New Hall Children’s Centre throughout December and into January. I would, once again, strongly urge my constituents to express their views in order to protect the valuable services being provided from this Centre. While Children’s Centres at The Deanery School and in Four Oaks now look likely to be decommissioned, the consultation does identify at least 13 outreach venues, including venues in Walmley, New Oscott, Boldmere, Minworth and Four Oaks that will be used to provide services for families.

For the time bring it is business as normal with staff across all 4 Centres working very hard to support families in Sutton Coldfield but as Sutton’s Member of Parliament I will continue to push for increased funding and stress how vital it is that how money is spent is determined locally.

We are hugely grateful to Sue Bailey, Sutton Coldfield Children’s Centres Strategic Lead, who has led on this vexatious matter and has helped deliver a much valued local service with great expertise.

I would strongly advise that she and her colleagues are in the best position to deliver the right service in the most cost effective way to the right people throughout my constituency.

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