Sunday, 9 September 2012

The fight to save North Solihull Sports Centre crèche

For the last 10 years the North Solihull Sports Centre and the Tudor Grange Leisure Centre have had crèches for people using the facilities.  This was continued when the centres were given to private sector company, Parkwood Leisure to run.  The staff at the 2 crèches were employed by Parkwood but a grant was paid by Solihull MBC to support the service. 

In 2012 the £35,000 grant to Parkwood was offered up as part of the Council’s savings.  It was proposed to entirely close the crèche at Tudor Grange and to only have the crèche at North Solihull open 2 mornings a week.

Solihull UNISON branch has worked hard to stop the closure of the North Solihull facility.  So far the branch has:
  • Presented a signature petition from crèche users to the leader of the Labour Group to present at full Council
  • Written to the Cabinet Member putting the case for keeping the crèche open
  • Met with the council officer responsible for the decision to close in order to understand his rationale and persuaded him see the affected staff to find out the truth and he discovered the information previously supplied to him about usage was inaccurate
  • Met with Leanne Byrne, fire-fighter, mum and crèche user.  Leanne had got considerable publicity in the Solihull News and was going to address the full council meeting on 16th October.  UNISON supported Leanne by helping to draw up a questionnaire for completion by the crèche users.  They also agreed to support any demonstration outside the October Council Meeting. Leanne is herself an FBU officer in Handsworth and so is able to draw upon that union for support in her campaign
This is a great example of how a UNISON branch has organised around an issue and involved the community in its campaigning.

The fight still goes one and the branch will be holding a demonstration outside the Council Meeting on 16th October.

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