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05 May 2017
Forth Valley Stronger Together

For the last 18 months service users and family members from the Kemback Street Users Group have been campaigning to keep their day centre open.  Following a threatened legal action, the council agreed to rerun their consultation response.  On Monday 9th Sept, the council discussed the report which came down on the side of closing Kemback Street. You can read the report by clicking here.  

There were a number of clear and passionate speeches from the 3 deputations that were heard and some serious questions were heard.  The council made a number of concessions.  Under pressure from the campaigners they agreed that staff from Kemback could transfer over with any service users who moved to Wellgate.  They also acknowledged that there were some factual errors in the consultant's report.  But in the end the council committee voted along party lines and the decision was passed.  

Campaigners have vowed to take a ten minute breather and to continue the fight.  Already Thomson's solicitors have written to the council threatening further legal action.  Watch this space for more developments, 

On Wednesday 21st August, David Williams, Head of Social Work and Cllr Matt Kerr, lead for Health & Social Care spoke to people with learning disabilities and their families. Before the meeting campaigners wore "Gordon Matheson" masks in protest at the fact that the council leader wouldn't attend.  

Inside the speaker received a rough reception as the worry and stress that people have been living with spilled over.  Families talked about the challenges that their sons and daughters had faced during transition and how they dreaded more disruption.  People with learning disabilities spoke up about how they valued their friendship, the security and the staff that they enjoyed.  

Matt Kerr tried to reassure them that anybody who didn't go to a day centre any more would still get help to "maintain their friendships".   However according to internal documents seen by LDAS this is likely to amount to no more than a  "regular (possibly monthly)  open  ‘meet and greet event’. On an ongoing basis this could be tasked to the local coordinators when in post."

Rumours are beginning to emerge from deep within Edinburgh Council that a change of approach to supported employment in Edinburgh will be announced in September.   After much discussion and a lot of campaigning, councillors from Edinburgh seem to be proposing a Status Quo approach for the next year.  During that time, careful thought will be given to how new developments can be married with the existing structure of services to ensure that people continue to get support.  Serious attention is likely to be given to whether competitive tendering is an appropriate way to manage supported employment services and a more constructive approach will be looked at. 

 

This is likely to mean the Engine Shed will continue to receive financial support from Edinburgh City Council so the trainees, bakery, canteen and tofu users as well as staff can breathe easily.

Also those who use services like the Real Jobs Project to get into mainstream employment will not have to worry about their support being pulled away from them.   

Other projects like the Woodhall, Scottish Braille Press, Intowork and Forth Sector will also benefit from this. 

Glasgow City Council has called the meeting to discuss day services in Mitchell Theatre at 7.00 pm on Wednesday 21st August.  Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council has turned down a request that as political head of the council he addresses this event. Day centre users and carers affected by the Labour Group decision to close 3 day centres in Glasgow are appalled that the council leader has such scant regard for the learning disability community in the city and his refusal to meet with the families once again confirms that vulnerable adults are low value citizens on Councillor Matheson's priority list.

 Please make sure that all day centre families  attend this meeting.

 The campaign is asking supporters to be at the Mitchell Theatre from 6.00 pm with our T-shirts, banner and placards to demonstrate opposition to the day centre closures and the PSP farce.

 Unlike previous events organised by the families campaigning against the day centre closures Glasgow's elected members have not been made aware of this meeting or invited to attend as observers.