Playing child. Pic: Lucélia Ribeiro

Two children’s centres in Burntwood have been saved from the axe after a group of parents set up a new community organisation.

The sites at Boney Hay and Springhill were earmarked for closure in January.

But music teacher Esther Allen was determined to save the local facilities and, together with fellow mums Shevonne Hodson-Walker, Tracey Matthews and Rachel Marlow, she organised a petition which gathered more than 2,000 signatures.

Local councillor Sue Woodward backed the group and helped secure a six month reprieve while the future of the sites were debated.

Now local families have formed Spark (Burntwood), which will take over the running of the centres in September.

Esther said: “I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to achieve in such a short space of time, largely down to the incredible support from our families.

“We joked as mums about the idea of being able to run our own children’s centres and now it is a reality, although without Sue we wouldn’t have known where to begin.

“It’s been a lot of hard work and we’ve come across obstacles, but I’ve been amazed by the enthusiasm of those involved in the children’s centres and other community groups.”

The new organisation will be launched at the site at the rear of Boney Hay Primary School on September 7, from 2.30pm to 4pm.

Cllr Woodward said: “This is a real success story for the Burntwood community and for this fantastic group of mums. They saw a problem and, rather than sitting and wringing their hands, set out to do something about it.

“I’m delighted that Spark is about to be up and running and to have been involved along the way.”

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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