Preet Kaur Gill MP has visited Doddington Green Children’s Centre in Bartley Green.
As part of her visit, Preet met with staff from the Early Years and Family Support teams as well as hearing about the specialist support that is being offered including employment and training workshops, health activities, language support and infant feeding advice.
12 years of Conservative cuts have seen over 1,000 children’s centres close across the UK and Birmingham has been no exception. In 2010, Birmingham City Council were receiving £33.5 million for Sure Start. Today, it stands at just over £10 million with the funding no longer being ringfenced.
In Edgbaston constituency the impact of Covid and the cost-of-living crisis is becoming clear as Doddington Green Children’s Centre has seen a significant increase in:
Support for parents with regard to emotional wellbeing.
Parents receiving advice regarding domestic abuse via the domestic abuse Freedom Programme.
Adults and Children attending Language and Signing groups.
Early help assessments.
Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Birmingham Edgbaston said:
“Early years are crucial in determining children’s life chances and we need to ensure that the early years system delivers high-quality, preventative services. The last Labour Government invested heavily in Sure Start Children’s Centres and the Every Child Matters agenda which saw huge boosts to the educational and life chances of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“It is appalling to see 12 years of Conservative Governments systematically closing these centres because it is devastating for the families it effects. That is why places like Doddington Green Children’s Centre are so important and the work the staff here carry out is vital. I believe it is time to give childcare the attention it deserves and to make Britain the best place to grow up in.”
Barnardo’s, who oversee the centre on behalf of Birmingham City Council, is calling for the extension of family hubs to all communities. In its 2021 report ‘It Takes a Village: The Case for Family Support in Every Community’ Barnardo’s calculated that for every £1 invested in a similar service on the Isle of Wight, £2.60 of savings were generated.