Troubador Birmingham’s Children

Released: 28/04/2022

ISBN: 9781803132310

eISBN: 9781803139173

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Birmingham’s Children

A Tale of Two Cities


This book reflects the positive work of a small local campaigning charity set up in 2018 called All Birmingham’s Children (ABC) which seeks to address the appalling level of inequality and poverty which blights 32-54% of children living in Birmingham. ABC proposes a range of mostly cost-free recommendations, which if acted upon would fundamentally change the way children are seen, valued and catered for in the second biggest city in the UK. A city which has more children and young people than any other UK city. The trustees comprise of local parents and childcare, educational, law enforcement and health professionals who have lived and worked in the city for years.

This year the founder of ABC was recognised in the Queens New Year’s Honours List (British Empire Medal) for setting up ABC and his long services to children and families. ABC’s work has the support of the British Association of Social Workers, The Social Work Union, Unison and the local branch of National Education Union. ABC was welcomed by the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, various national retailers and has received positive press coverage from as far afield as Japan and Sweden.  

Yet despite all of the above, positive recognition, support and willingness to work in partnership with our city leaders, ABC has been consistently shunned and ignored by 99% of Birmingham’s 111 locally elected leaders (10 members of parliament, 100 city councillors and its regional mayor) and most of the local mainstream media. Why??

?This book exposes those uncomfortable truths and seeks to explain what can and needs to be done to address the appalling levels of civic apathy which help sustain a situation where for some children living in Birmingham it is the best of times and yet for others who go to bed hungry each night it is the worst of times.

‘A tour de force view of the landscape and challenges facing children in Birmingham and across the UK. I urge everyone to read this and take action’. Mark A Monaghan (social worker).

by Mark Monaghan

A campaigning text of hope and love. A true Brummie who has given over 30 years of professional commitment protecting and fighting for kids in Brum and beyond. Thank-you for your service Ed. Keep on keeping on.

by Cheryl Hedges

Anyone who works with children or who has children should read this book. Thought-provoking and extremely insightful. Buy a copy for yourself and another to share… What an eye-opener!!

by Nicky

Too many leaders say they’re working hard to end child poverty while more and more children are in families that society is failing. Leaders are not prioritising child poverty, are not working hard enough to end it and are failing the UK’s children. No child should be living in poverty.

by Caroline O' Hara

A classic account of how the comment "we have a problem" is welcomed but the question "why have we not done anything about this problem?" triggers a very different response.

by Niall Macauley

What a thoroughly engrossing book and so enlightening. Its findings and recommendations should shame the 'powers that be' into action. If only Sir Tim Brighouse was still the Chief Education Officer in Birmingham, then we would see some action. Eddie O'Hara should be congratulated for bravely highlighting the the city's failings. His book deserves to be a huge success.

by Rob Maloney

As a vastly experienced UK Social Work manager ( over 30 years ) I read this book in one sitting . I then re- read it twice - such was my fascination with its principal thematic message . I recommend you read it in conjunction with Josh MacAlistair’s national review of Children’s Social Care . In terms of what is currently lacking , and moreover , what dynamic and dramatic changes are urgently required there are important , unequivocal similarities . To use a favoured Chess analogy O’Hara grasps the poison pawn and sets about an aggressive opening . Despite the collapse of hi# middle game O’Hara keeps going with what pieces he has left - those not taken away from him by those he chose to place his faith in - the elected members , the policy makers , the key stakeholders and many of the red - faced statutory services .
This is not a pleasant read , but it is a real one . If child care outcomes , aspirations and real life changes are to materialise then the recommendations of O’Hara’s lifelong work need to be taken with the utmost sense of duty and obligation . Everyone in Social Care - and beyond - ought to read this book . It doesn’t so much ‘ hit the nail on the head ‘ as drive the nails of reason into a medium they don’t want to go . Eddie O’ Hara offers hope - but at a cost . That cost , to finish with my ongoing analogy , arguing , remonstrating and altering the minds of those who just won’t change is like teaching a pigeon to play chess with a squirrel . Get this book , read it , read it again , eat it …and throw the message up everywhere . It very much ought to be a standard read on any Social Care course .

by Hugh Shriane

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