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Wear it Pink Day

This Friday, it is wear it pink day for Breast Cancer Now, which will see thousands of people adding a splash of pink to their outfits to raise vital funds for the largest breast cancer charity.

Anyone can take part in wear it pink day, which brings together schools, workplaces and communities. All you need to do is wear something pink, or hold a pink event at home, work and school, and make a donation to Breast Cancer Now.

So please help us beat Breast Cancer and support Breast’s Cancer Now’s vital research by wearing it pink on Friday 20th October. Find out more here: wearitpink.org/17

Richard Burden MP 2

Calling for spare Wembley tickets to be given to schools

I have added my name to a letter drafted by Labour’s Shadow Sports Minister, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, calling on the Football Association to fill empty seats at England matches with free tickets for schoolchildren.

Wembley Stadium had 28,000 empty seats during the last England match and there are many schools in Northfield that would welcome the chance to offer young people the opportunity to be at Wembley to see England play. For games where the FA expects or knows that there will be a large number of empty seats, these should be given to schools.

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Calling for Council to rethink Children’s Centre proposals

Birmingham Northfield MP Richard Burden has called for Birmingham City Council to rethink proposals published today following its Early Years Health and Wellbeing Review. Under the review Birmingham City Council proposes to contract out children’s centre services to a consortium of the Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Barnardo’s Spurgeons children’s charity and St Paul’s Community Trust. The City Council say the plan will better integrate health visiting and children’s centre services, but it will see a number of children’s centres de-registered by the Council.

Mr Burden said today:

Government cuts are hitting children’s centres and other Sure Start initiatives all over the country. A third of all the UK’s sure start centres have been lost since 2010. Birmingham has lost £17m from its own early years budget. Nobody should be under any illusions that the responsibility of cuts to children’s centres in Birmingham lies anywhere other than, at root, with the Conservative Government. That is why, together with other Labour MPs and the City Council, I will continue to demand that ministers change course.

But that does not let the City Council off the hook with what they are proposing here. In my constituency and several others they still appear not to have addressed most of the consultation responses they received over the summer from parents and from people who actually deliver early years services.

Looking at the position in my constituency, I am pleased the Council have told me that they will retain Wychall and Frankley Plus Children’s Centres as hubs for early years services, and that they have modified an earlier proposal to close Merrishaw Children’s Centre. Elsewhere in the constituency, however, it is far from clear what kind of support will be there for families. In an area of high deprivation like Kings Norton’s three estates, that is a real concern.  In Weoley Castle, meanwhile, the City Council is planning to de-commission the well-established and highly regarded Children’s Centre only to then suggest running slimmed down services from two venues next door.

This remains a top-down reorganisation with far too many questions unanswered and precious little information about how its authors actually expect it to work.

Mr Burden has written to Council Leader Ian Ward urging that the City’s Cabinet withhold approval of the new arrangements unless and until the serious questions that have been raised are answered.

World Mental Health Day

To mark World Mental Health Day, I joined with 160 Labour MPs to ask the Prime Minister that she ring-fences mental health funding.

It’s time the Prime Minister’s words on mental health were translated into action. Ring-fencing mental health funding will get us one step closer to real equality for those with mental health conditions.

You can read the letter below:

LettertothePrimeMinister

LettertothePrimeMinister-2

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Bournville Gardens Health and Wellbeing Centre

Government cuts to public services are bad enough but it is even worse when investment is approved for projects, only to then be delayed and threatened through unnecessary bureaucratic wrangles.

That, however, is what is happening on the Bournville Village Trust College Green development on the site of the former Bournville College on Bristol Road South. A new Health and Wellbeing centre is planned for the site and investment to construct the centre has been approved in principle by NHS England. 

Now, though, delays by NHS England in revising some if its own rules and procedures are delaying the investment needed for the new centre. The danger is that if those delays go on much longer they could even prevent the centre being built at all. It is a crazy situation. Nobody seems to be questioning the need for the new centre or that it aligns with the strategic priorities of NHS England. It seems to be an entirely procedural wrangle that is holding things up.

Today I urged Ministers to step in to clear whatever procedural blockages are holding things up and make sure Bournville Gardens Health and Wellbeing Centre is built as planned.