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."
David Williams said that the 3 centres had to close in order to release cash to fund new services. However neither of the speaker thought to mention that the Scottish Government had given them a cash injection of £2 million to help them fund new SDS services. It is likely that Glasgow Council has chosen to spend this elsewhere.
Much was made of the 9 Local Area Coordinators that were going to be appointed. However little was said that this would mean that each person would have at most 30 minutes a week with their coordinator and that while some existing LACs did have similar workloads, this has been built up over a long period of time not with effect from April 1 2014.
Overall people came away frustrated and angry - they had made their points but still there was little movement. Only the offer of Summerston building as the base for a carer's trust goes some way to meeting the carers plans. But until people know what their budgets may be this can be little more than an option.
You can hear Sheila, one of the campaigners speaking on the radio before the meeting by clicking here.