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SALFORD MAYOR CONFRONTED BY DROP IN CAMPAIGNERS AT DEMOCRACY DAY
 

Star date: 24th September 2012

`IT'S A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH' DROP IN USERS TELL MAYOR – AS HE PROMISES NOTHING

`Where's our caring sharing Mayor?' placard

At Saturday's Salford Council `Democracy Day', placard waving campaigners confronted Mayor Ian Stewart at his Question Time, pleading with him to reverse the decision to close down drop-in centres for people with mental health issues.

Stewart was told by one service user that the drop-ins were, for him, "a matter of life and death". The Mayor responded "I'm not going to promise something I can't deliver".

Full story here…


Salford Mayor Ian Stewart and Drop-in Closure Campaigners Salford Mayor Ian Stewart and Drop-in Closure Campaigners Salford Mayor Ian Stewart and Drop-in Closure Campaigners
Salford Mayor Ian Stewart and Drop-in Closure Campaigners
click image to enlarge

"These drop ins are keeping us out of places like Meadowbrook, Prestwich and, most likely, cemeteries." Steve Cullen, service user


Saturday afternoon was Salford Council's annual `Democracy Day' which has recently almost turned into a tea party on the lawns of the Civic Centre. With a nod to democracy, Mayor Ian Stewart held a kind of open Question Time in a big white marquee. But, before it could get underway, he was met by placard waving campaigners, protesting at Salford Council's proposals to lose three community care worker staff and, in effect, close the city's drop-in centres which are a lifeline for people with mental health issues. 

In another nod to democracy, Stewart went over to meet the campaigners - holding placards reading `Where's our caring sharing Mayor?', `Broken Promises' and `No more Tory Lib Dem Cheerleader' - and heard how vital the drop-ins are for the people who use them.

"As far as I'm concerned it's a matter of life and death, these drop-ins are so important" he was told by a service user "They are on about giving more one to one sessions but in my view they are just isolating people."

"These drop ins are vital to me" he was told by another service user, while Vee Ball, chair of the campaigning committee USUC (believe it!), whose partner has made 21 attempts on his own life, spelled out the consequences if the drop-ins shut…

"The drop-ins represent a ticket out of people's homes and to get help" she told Stewart "Take that away and they backslide. If these people go into crisis look at the strain that is going to put on A&E, the ambulance service, the police, the crisis teams, the hospitals. The drop-ins avert crisis, so if you look at the economics it's going to cost more money than the £80,000 you're trying to save by shutting them down."

In response, the Mayor offered nothing…

"The one thing I'm not going to do is promise something I can't deliver" he said "But I will promise you that the process for consultation with the staff, and then the service users will be run properly. At the end of the day there will be hard decisions but I will ensure that all your views are taken into consideration and then we'll be open as to why certain decisions have been made, whatever that is…But I don't promise anything other than that."

It was pointed out to the Mayor that the staff consultation had already taken place, and the Salford Star asked how there can be a consultation ending next year, when staff have already had notice of redundancy (see previous Salford Star feature – click here)…

"I don't know the answer to that" he replied "I will look into it first thing Monday morning."

And with that, Ian Stewart went off to begin his sparsely attended Question Time session, muttering "Oh that I had a magic wand…"

If anything needs the Mayor's magic wand it's Salford's drop-in centres. Before the campaigners met the Mayor, service users and carers told the Star just how important and vital they are to people with mental health issues…

"I had a flat and didn't come out, I didn't see anybody, just had my one-to-one and that was it" recalled Steve Cullen, a service user who is now vice chair of the campaigning USUC committee

"My support worker introduced me to Cromwell House, and he's got me out mixing with a new bunch of people and I've formed new friendships with other service users who understand and don't judge because we're all equal and have all been through it. These drop ins are keeping us out of places like Meadowbrook, Prestwich and, most likely, cemeteries."

Vee Ball, chair of USUC,  underlined the point…

"I'm a carer for my partner who has a very harrowing disorder, he's made 21 attempts on his life this year" she said "Since he's started to integrate at these drop ins with these people he's made friends with, those attempts have ceased somewhat because he's got the backup of stability of these people and he trusts them. There's a lot of people at these drop ins who have a lot of issues similar to him. Trust is a big thing, change is a massive thing. They've taken a long time to build up this confidence they've got now and if they suddenly cut it, it will throw them back into a tailspin

"We are here today to challenge Ian Stewart, who has vowed to protect vulnerable adults in Salford" she added "It's very scary, it's not something we find easy and we're all absolutely trembling. We're just a gang of ordinary people, quite nervous, trying to make this man understand that there's a lot at stake…"

As Mayor Ian Stewart was told in no uncertain terms, for many people with mental health issues, the drop-ins are "A matter of life and death"…

Mr Stewart better get his magic wand out. Fast!

Public Meeting
Defend Mental Health Services
Monday 1st October, 7pm
Swinton Royal British Legion
Cheetham Road
Swinton, M27 4UQ

Not Happy Again wrote
at 20:51:19 on 26 September 2012
Our caring sharing Mayor says: Iam not going to promise something i can't deliver;; so let's see what else you have not delivered, working hard and listening to all our views;;putting the residents of salford first;;regeneration and jobs to our city;; a better deal for salford from this Tory-Led Goverment;;ensuring that Salford provides efficient value for money services;; So why are you spending Millions no some thing we don't want and nothing on the thing's we need;; so if you can't deliver get U P S, to do it then you can get another job like other people in industery that can't DELIVER;;
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 17:55:58 on 25 September 2012
Ian Stewart not listening to the people who elected him, now there's a big surprise.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 15:40:23 on 25 September 2012
Michael, I've not seen the play, but I've seen the film plenty of times and the rise of the Nazis and their brutality forms the significant backdrop for the plot. All your censorship would do is help disassociate the Nazi flag from the evils of the Nazis. If it was a play about the horrors of Auschwitz, would you want the Nazi flag censored or would you want people to know that this is what the Nazis did and that this is the flag you shall know them by? I sympathise for you family, but the Nazis fear the light, not censorship.
 
tony flynn wrote
at 14:23:56 on 25 September 2012
Mr Felse, Are we expected to believe that you went to see Cabaret at The Lowry, not knowing what the play was about or even were it was set? In that case here is a tip for you, do not cross the big ditch and visit the Imperial War Museum North, plenty of Nazi regalia in there as well, will you be contacting Trafford Borough Council about this?
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 14:23:38 on 25 September 2012
Winston; speaking as one with family exterminated at Auschwitz you are wrong to think this display of Nazi emblem fits in any way with what I expect my council to support with my council tax. The play is a good one, it does not need to use the evil swastika and I do not want my local council funding a facility in my home city that allows use of any disgraced symbol in some type of commercially motivated entertainment.
 
winston1984@ntlworld.com wrote
at 13:08:06 on 25 September 2012
Michael Felse, your Nazi comment has lost you credibility. Don't YOU know the Nazis prevented freedom of expression. Cabaret is just a play about a particular period in German history, not some sort of pro-Nazi conference being held by the Lowry. I'm no big fan of the Lowry and I can't stand the council, but trying to whip up hate against them by falsely connecting them with Nazis is well beneath you. Or at least I thought it was well beneath you. Absolutely pathetic.
 
Not Happy Again wrote
at 01:00:23 on 25 September 2012
what our caring sharing Mayor said in his manifesto;; Quote; we need to ensure vital services that help the ederly' the vulnerable and our children are protected.And we need high quality educational facilities that will equip our citizens for the 21st Century;Nice words Mr Mayor but the truth is YOU are not doing it, you are closing these places down, and the ederly and the vulnerable are going to fend for them selfs because of all the cuts that you and your gang of bandits are doing;; And do we realy have to put up with you for an other four years;; O, M, G,
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 00:59:46 on 25 September 2012
Alan, I also wish Paul Massey had been elected. Even more after tonight, having paid over £40, watching the opening night of Cabaret at Salford Lowry. Is it true Salford Council still give the Lowry money, yet they have allowed this play to blatantly exhibit the Nazi swastika repeatedy on stage in Salford. Do they not condemn its display when many mental health people were murdered by the Nazis. I would be pressing Paul Massey to stop the Lowry money and instead pay it to the Mental Health drop in centres. No point asking Mayor Steward, I feel his distance on reality has been well proven.
 
Alan S wrote
at 21:04:24 on 24 September 2012
"I promise you that the consulation with the staff & then the service users will be run properly."??? Hmmmmmmm ..I'm kinda expecting another iTunes/youtube sensation here, along the lines of Nick Clegg's "I'm sorry." This consultation is a joke. Neither service users or staff have been allowed to take any active part in it. Surely the views of the good people of Salford should be heard, and acted on rather then the counsil and NHS clumsily ploughing through with what they'd already decided. I wish Paul Massey had been voted in as Mayor!
 
Martin Mulliner wrote
at 18:02:31 on 24 September 2012
Mayor Greedy Stewart is just another Bullshitter , and fits in well with all the other Bullshitters , up at the Swinton Madhouse . The sooner we get rid of these Shites , the better . Where was Spicer , too busy stashing OUR extorted money ?
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 18:02:18 on 24 September 2012
This week I am writing to Eric Pickles to demand his Department's investigation into the validity of what our elected Mayor said in his Manifesto and what is being seen to be the Salford Labour Party reality. Mayor Stewart should do the honorable thing, reign and call a new election for Mayor if he thinks he has the people's mandate to do any such cuts that will clearly hurt vulnerable people living in Salford that are unable to provide their own self help. I will make a direct appeal to Eric Pickles for him to intervene, taking over Mental Health Salford Services as he did in Doncaster with their Children's threatened Council Services.
 
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