Birmingham children's centres: Protest over closure plans

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Image caption,
A protest was held outside Birmingham Council House

More than 100 people have protested against proposals to close 26 out of 70 children's centres in Birmingham.

Under the plans, community venues such as churches, mosques, and nurseries will be used instead, and GP surgeries would run baby clinics.

Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is poised to take over the running of contracts.

People demonstrated outside Birmingham Council House at 11:00 BST. A 60-day consultation will end on 17 August.

Brigid Jones, cabinet member in charge of children's services at the Labour-run city council, has previously said a new system would improve things further.

Ms Jones said: "Rather than different centres and different professionals picking up on a concern and recording them on different systems, we are to going to have one system across all of the city."

Image caption,
More than 100 people gathered at the demonstration

The council's children's services has been given an inadequate rating since 2008, but a report issued last month said services were improving.

One parent outside the council building, Rebecca Harris, said the current offering "helps my son".

She said: "With it closing it's like, 'what am I supposed to do for him?'

"Look at how happy he is... They've done a lot of good for my son."

Another woman, Sara Hadi, said: "I was shocked to hear that these services are being cut.

"I really believe that obviously our children are our future and this is where we need to invest."

The community healthcare trust has said its role would be to ensure children aged up to five led healthy lifestyles and were ultimately kept safe.

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