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SALFORD ASSISTANT MAYOR PUSHES THROUGH DISABLED CHILDREN RESPITE CUT
 

Star date: 11th September 2013

SAVE THE GRANGE PARENTS `FLABBERGASTED' AS JOHN MERRY RECOMMENDS CUT

Parents of children with disabilities declared themselves `flabbergasted' today when they learned that John Merry, Salford Council's Assistant Mayor for Children and Young People, has recommended cuts to short respite breaks at The Grange.

Parents met with John Merry last Friday and are due to meet City Mayor Ian Stewart next Tuesday to discuss changes to the service… "They're just going through the motions" says parent Margaret Tunnacliffe.

Full details here…


Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart Meets The Grange campaigners in Eccles Save The Grange
click image to enlarge

"We're absolutely flabbergasted" said Margaret and Alan Tunacliffe, parents of two children with disabilities, when they heard that John Merry, Salford Council's Assistant Mayor for Children and Young People, had recommended that short break facilities at The Grange were to be stopped.

Margaret and Alan, and other parents and campaigners trying to Save The Grange, have opposed Salford Council proposals to close short break facilities at the centre, and send children under 14 to foster carers and children over 14 into the current adult facility at Granville. This is being done in order to save money by bringing children with disabilities with longer term needs back to Salford.

Parents met John Merry last Friday to voice their concerns over the proposals and are due to see City Mayor, Ian Stewart, next Tuesday, after he promised to meet them following the controversial `rent-a-crowd' comments and street confrontation last week (see previous Salford Star article – click here)

"We're shocked that John Merry would do this after all the concerns we raised on Friday about foster carers, how they are going manage kids being separated, and about adults and children being together" said Margaret "What was the point of the consultation in the first place when they just put it through anyway? They're just going through the motions."

When the Salford Star told John Merry that the parents were furious that he had made a decision before their meeting with the Mayor he explained… "Well I had to make a recommendation. The fact is that we had a very constructive meeting with parents who made a number of valid points that I've tried to incorporate.

"They were concerned about the transition period and didn't want a sharp cut off point on Oct 1st, so I actually made it clear that we would be working between October and January to ensure we got the best possible arrangements*" he added "I've also suggested we meet in November to talk about the transition and see how we can manage that as smoothly as possible. They also discussed technical issues about expertise of the staff which I've agreed to look into."

While John Merry has agreed to `look into' the technical issues, so far anxious parents have had no answers on issues like the ability of foster carers to cope around children with challenging behaviour, the safeguarding of children in the adult facility of Granville, and the chances of proper respite for parents with children who are different ages.

The original secret Salford Council report on the future of The Grange stated that "It is recognised that some parents might be concerned or unhappy about the potential change…" 

Expect the campaign to Save The Grange to continue.

Sign the online petition – click here

It reads…

`We the undersigned ask that the Council withdraw plans to stop offering respite for families who have children with disabilities. The resource is well used and is in high demand which would not suitably be met by the alternatives they are offering. It is time for the Council to put the needs of families with vulnerable young people first. We ask you to support our petition and demand that The Grange stays open as a respite centre.'

See previous Salford Star features on The Grange for further details... click here and click here

UPDATE: 14th September 2013

* John Merry has been in contact to say that he was being quoted in this article on his recommendations, not what was said at the meeting with parents.

Photos by Steven Speed

not happy wrote
at 12:20:40 PM on Wednesday, September 18, 2013
do's any body know if the Mayor turned up and if he did what Bullshit did he spread was it the one if we don't make the cuts the Goverment will and that will be the worst for Salford' can they get any worst'
 
Kenneth w mckelvey wrote
at 12:26:30 AM on Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Having lived in Weaste Village for over 40yrs I can Assure all labour voters no matter who they put up to stand for the next election the Candidate if elected will do exactly what the previous labour councillors have done( Nothing ).!This labour council are Turning the village into a SLUM.With the unrestricted activity of multi occupied property's Owned by private landlords many who are just using Weaste as a dump.This Council seem to be blind to the amount of building materials that are being dumped in the garden areas and at the rear of the property's owned by the afore said landords .and the street cleaning of the Village has virtually ended.
 
Pissed off VERY EX Labour voter wrote
at 12:25:48 AM on Wednesday, September 18, 2013
It just shows what a two-faced bastard Stewart is, when he stood for the first time as MP for Eccles it was all, I am a union man & will fight to defend services for the people of Salford. Oh how Parliament and power have mellowed him. So now it seems the message is, fuck u muppets that voted for me I am Kim Jong Stewart and I can do what I want......PS Thanks for the BIG salary which I get for doing NOTHING to help you all. In the mayoral election he promised to deliver nothing, ok fair point but just when did he say "I will strip you of everything you have now"????
 
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 1:50:45 AM on Tuesday, September 17, 2013
wishes to remind everyone - Mr Merry has form when it comes to shutting services to preserve budgets for other things. Back in the day when he had the Education Brief - he was always looking to shut schools to trim/shave costs from the budget. School closures followed. Now he's got the community brief our "Assistant Mayor" seems to think shutting a care centre will solve the problems of community & social care overnight - he was mistaken in education - and he's mistaken here. BTW - someone from the mayors office - given this story - why are we still paying for the profits of a private company (PEEL) and also why are you hiving off monies for "prestige" projects?
 
DAVID THORNLEY wrote
at 5:57:15 AM on Saturday, September 14, 2013
MY SON IS A SERVICE USER AT THE GRANGE AND THERE IS NO WAY HE IS GOING IN TO ADULT RESPITE WHEN HE'S 15 YEARS OLD.AFTER ALL IF HE WAS IN MAINSTREAM SCHOOL HE WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AN ADULT! THIS COUNCIL HAS CHOSEN TO ATTACK DISABLED CHILDREN WITH THEIR CUTS BECAUSE THEY ARE MUCH LESS LIKELY TO VOTE IN THE FUTURE!THE INTERESTING PART OF THIS PROPOSAL IS THE FACT THAT TO SAVE MONEY THE COUNCIL WISH TO BRING BACK LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN TO THE SALFORD AREA.THE FIRST PROBLEM BEING THAT IN THE TIME THESE CHILDREN HAVE BEEN OUTSIDE THE CITY THEY HAVE CREATED THERE OWN LIVES SO DO THE COUNCIL THINK THESE CHILDREN WILL WANT TO COME BACK AND SECONDLY HOW MANY OF THESE CHILDREN CAN STAY AT THE GRANGE? WHEN ASKED AT A PREVIOUS MEETING GANI MARTINS STATED THAT THE COUNCIL BELIEVED THEY COULD GET TWO CHILDREN TO RETURN. SO THE RESTRUCTURE WOULD MEAN UPHEAVAL FOR 22 CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES FOR 2 CHILDREN TO RETURN. MAYBE ITS ME BUT THIS SEEMS A BIT OF A STRANGE PROPOSAL BUT OBVIOUSLY THE MAYOR AND HIS COUNCIL KNOW BEST!!!
 
the end wrote
at 1:45:59 AM on Saturday, September 14, 2013
dont worry, you only elected them again and again, and no doubt will again next May.
 
wrote
at 1:44:18 AM on Saturday, September 14, 2013
maybe somebody should take a good look at Salford childrens service.s safeguarding track record?? it does not exactly inspire confidence? maybe it is also time this and other recent issues like what is being allowed to happen i ben the special school should be brought to the wider publicattention i.e national press?? s
 
Gillian Welsh wrote
at 12:34:08 AM on Friday, September 13, 2013
Cut and dried from the word go!!!! As I have said so so many times before (and will continue to say) Salford Council are heartless assholes who don't care about their constituents only themselves. They will continue to walk all over us for as long as they see fit. They are dispicable excuses for human beings. I can guarantee you that if one of their children or relatives children was in this dreadful situation then The Grange would NOT be closing!!!!!!!
 
Elaine wrote
at 12:33:48 AM on Friday, September 13, 2013
Hang your heads in shame, you are meant to be making the best decisions for our children's health and welfare. But never mind we have enough deputy mayors or should we say henchmen to bleed us dry. Hope you can sleep at night.
 
mary ferrer wrote
at 12:33:41 AM on Friday, September 13, 2013
The only people that lot are safeguarding are themseleves. If Merry and Co told me the sky was blue I would have to look first.The decision would have been made a long time ago. They will have to put a lot of things in place for this to happen and that would not happen over night. They were just stringing the parents along given them hope, when in fact the decision had been made. But keep fighting, we all know there have to be cuts, but I am sure there are other ways of making these cuts.
 
alan tunnacliffe wrote
at 2:37:58 PM on Thursday, September 12, 2013
never once did john merry mention the cut off period moving from october to janruary fact when we went to the meeting on friday he looked quite concerned about questions asked but now i know that it was all bollocks the questions and concerns raised should have at least meant it would have taken more than two days to make recomendations going through the motions and hoodwinking parents is what his game is
 
wrote
at 2:32:54 PM on Thursday, September 12, 2013
salford council consultation? care about children with disabilities? you must be joking Salford don.t do proper consultation just ask the many ex staff at Springwood!! oh well at least salford have a good safeguarding trackrecord.....
 
not happy wrote
at 10:33:51 AM on Thursday, September 12, 2013
What a good idea broughton resident I was thinking the same my self 2013. The Weaste and Seedley ward by-election will take place on Thursday 10 October which is open because some body resigned. Then on Thursday 1 May 2014 are the Local elections with some interesting re standing, Barton,David Jolley, Boothstown and Ellenbrook, Jillian Collinson, Irlam, Roger Jones (Assistant Mayor), Cadishead, Christine Hudson (Deputy Ceremonial Mayor, Broughton, John Merry CBE (Assistant Mayor), Kersal,Ann-Marie Humphreys (Assistant Mayor), Winton, Margaret Morris (Assistant Mayor), Claremont,Sareda Dirir, Ordsall, Alan Clague (Ceremonial Mayor), would’ ant it be interesting to get people to stand against them under one Banner, or independent groups, S A C,(Salford Against Cuts), U S U C,(United Service Users Committee) because lets face it some of these have gone past there sell by date as councilors, they are just not interested in the people of Salford, it’s all MEDIACITYUK, CHAPEL STREET, IRWELL RIVER PARK, Salford Reds, and Peel Holdings.
 
tony leather wrote
at 1:55:57 AM on Thursday, September 12, 2013
ive got a son that goes to the grange and he got to go mix with the adults now belive me if my son get hurt or I even think it affecting him I will be sueing Salford council and as for lieing labour mps don't get me started they alreay planned on doing it b4 we even met them
 
alan tunnacliffe wrote
at 1:55:52 AM on Thursday, September 12, 2013
time to get rid of these dickheads ive been a labour voter all my life but never again i just wont vote despicable bastards
 
margaret tunnacliffe wrote
at 12:29:20 AM on Thursday, September 12, 2013
I am so angry about his decision to recommend that the proposals go through.Surely there must be some Councillors out there who are on our side and know by doing this is wrong or are they so up themselves they just don't care.Get a back bone stand up and say NO these proposals are wrong and they should never have been considered in the first place.If these proposals go through my family and i may as well close the doors and do the best we can because we will NEVER get Respite.
 
Angela Hilton wrote
at 12:28:44 AM on Thursday, September 12, 2013
Just another example of the betrayals of Government! They wonder why people can't be bothered to vote anymore-I'll tell you why, because none of you care anymore!!! Stand up for the people that voted you in and show some backbone-that's when I'll be bothered to use my time to help you get what you want! Sick of government hitting the most vulnerable in our society. Should be ashamed of themselves.
 
forked tongued feckers wrote
at 12:28:37 AM on Thursday, September 12, 2013
When dealing with the likes of Stewart and Merry, keep this advice in mind. DONT ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL AND THEN BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.
 
mary ferrer wrote
at 12:28:24 AM on Thursday, September 12, 2013
When them bastards say they are "looking at" what the rotten to the core arseholes mean is "we have made our decision" I don't know how they can sleep at night. 8 months to the next local elections, but they still will get in and they still will lay the blame at the goverment doorstep(another load of BASTARDS) My heart goes out to all the families that have had the grange as a lifeline and now WHAT. BASTARDS sorry for swearing and the bad spelling I am so mad
 
broughton resident wrote
at 4:06:56 PM on Wednesday, September 11, 2013
maybe a parent of a family affected by this decision should stand against john merry in the broughton ward election in may 2014 and allow local people to express what they feel about his decision and the labour partys behavour
 
not happy wrote
at 4:06:30 PM on Wednesday, September 11, 2013
City Mayor Ian Stewart said: "These cuts have been forced on us by the coalition government. There is no escaping the fact that they will hurt the local people who the council serves” We have done our utmost to protect the most vulnerable. This is what our caring sharing Mayor said in his manifesto;; Quote; we need to ensure vital services that help the elderly' the vulnerable and our children are protected. It seems that am repeating my self but the Mayor has done nothing for the people and children of Salford did any body see the Mayors column in the Advertiser on 22/08/13 telling the people of Salford what a good job they are doing saving the drop-ins and helping the people and children with mental health problems. What a load of rubbish it’s the Mayor and the councillors that’s the problem if they cut there expenses they would save thousand but I can’t see that happening; it would be interesting to see if the Mayor turns up because has an habit of making appointments then not turning up;
 
Helen wrote
at 2:02:34 PM on Wednesday, September 11, 2013
The Grange and its staff have provided a consistent and caring service for the young people of Salford and their families for years. They have the trust and confidence of the young people and it is an atrocity that Salford Council would put the needs of these children and families so far down their list of priorities. Quality of life should come before cutting money. Would the Mayor and these Councillors be happy if this service was being cut for their children? The Mayor should be listening and understanding to the parents, its their lives this issue is affecting.
 
Steven North wrote
at 1:13:35 PM on Wednesday, September 11, 2013
It is incomprehensible how this can be announced today...after the Mayor went to great lengths last week to convince these parents that their meeting with him would matter...that he would listen...and that he would consider what they had to say. I know that the parents - angry as they will feel after this news - will now be considering what to do next. At the risk of getting "rent a crowd" accusations thrown at us again, I want to say that whatever they decide to do Salford UNISON will keep on helping them in whatever way we can. I hope others reading this can get onto their Facebook page (Save the Grange) and join in with whatever is announced. And if there are any Labour Councillors reading this who want to purge the sin of voting for cuts from their souls and do something that will benefit some of the most vulnerable in this city I suggest they help as well.
 
margaret tunnacliffe wrote
at 1:12:32 PM on Wednesday, September 11, 2013
John Merry is a lying little toad. At the meeting last Friday you DID NOT mention anything about working from October until January.Yes you said you would meet us again In November but IT WAS NOT to talk about the transition.If you had any kind of feelings for what is the best and the safest way to look after children you would have a listened to what me and other parents had said and our a concerns but instead you refused to listen,had already made your decision so what was the point of the meeting?Why have you not answered my question regarding the physical intervention about Granville for the he children because the Grange never used any?and why did you not have the bottle to let me know your decision?Why did I hear it from the Advertiser this morning? Your the most two faced unhonest person I have ever met and WILL NOT be meeting you again because all you have done is lied.
 
wrote
at 1:11:16 PM on Wednesday, September 11, 2013
People of Salford. Remember this latest betrayal when these self-serving scum, and especially Mayor Rent -A-Gob , are grovelling for our votes. Let's get rid of them all .
 
Disgusted with Stewart wrote
at 12:59:43 PM on Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Sorry but I don't get it, Why was there a meeting with Mr Merry when at the end of the day the final say for anything in Salford is the decision of his holiness Mayor Stewart??????????? Is this a case of softening the blow? Or diverting responability? Or attention? WTF just say what you want to do Mr Stewart and then we will all know who to vote for at the next sham mayoral election. Labour my arse mate, your a bloody Tory why don't you just tell us all what you really are? Thing is at least when the Tories shaft you they tell you they are doing so, these nu liebour b***ards have not even got the balls to tell us they are sending Salford up the river.
 
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