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SALFORD MAYOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES DISGRACE
 

Star date: 26th November 2013

STEWART CUTS THE GRANGE SHORT TERM CARE FOR DISABLED CHILDREN

"I'll lose my son…I'm absolutely heart broken" parent
"I seriously now believe that we don't live in a democracy" parent

Today Salford Mayor Ian Stewart made the decision to cut short term care for children with disabilities at The Grange – and to, instead, put them in with adults at the Granville facility.

Parents wanting to put their views to Assistant Mayors at this morning's Cabinet meeting were gagged, as Ian Stewart's toxic regime took a turn for the worse, if that's possible.

Full details here…


Save The Grange campaigners outside Salford Civic Centre this morning Save The Grange Leaflet
click image to enlarge

If Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart, instead of ushering parents out at the end of this morning's Cabinet meeting, had seen the human affect of his latest decision in the corridor outside, he might have had a tinge of regret.

Outside, in the corridors of Salford Civic Centre, parents of disabled children were in tears – men and women

"Connor, will probably end up in residential care and I'll lose my son" wept Sharon Leah "I'm absolutely heart broken.

"It was disgusting, he invited us into the meeting but didn't want to hear us when we tried to reply to things" she added "It's as if we're vermin."

The disrespect that Ian Stewart and his Cabinet of Assistant Mayors showed parents of some of the most disabled children in Salford was stunning and, quite frankly, nauseating – particularly after he labelled them `rent-a-crowd' earlier this year (see here).

The Mayor and his Cabinet were about to make a decision on the future of children with disabilities who currently use The Grange as a facility for short terms breaks. Salford Council aims to close this service at The Grange and, instead, put children aged seven to 14 with foster carers and those over 14 in the adult facility at Granville (see previous article for full details – click here).

Parents wanted to bring home to the Cabinet meeting and its array of Assistant Mayors what the plans would mean for their children, and how the report in front of them wasn't anywhere near the full picture.

They wanted to point out the lack of consultation over the plans, how most parents opposed the moves and how safeguarding issues had not been fully addressed

Stewart said that he would allow one parent to speak for five minutes. But the parents all had a different point to make about the impact upon their children …children with complex learning difficulties, autism, cerebral palsy and more.

These parents have never been through the process of Council meetings. They just want their children to be safe and well cared for. And they wanted to express their concerns to those who were tasked with making the decision...things like how their kids would have a bath, or how they would be able to play in the garden…

One parent, Alan Tunnacliffe, told the Mayor that more than one person should be allowed to address the meeting and that it was unacceptable for just one to speak… "We move onto the main meeting" said Ian Stewart, completely ignoring the request.

So, no parents were heard, as the Assistant Mayors only had John Merry, Assistant Mayor for Children and Young People, to take them through the Council's version of the proposals.

"We've sought to address the issues raised" he said "…we can meet parents concerns…we can support young people in separate parts of the building…one parent emailed us to say she was `impressed' with the proposals…This is a different way but not necessarily a worse way…etc etc."

When he'd finished a handful of Assistant Mayors asked a few anodyne questions… "Nobody has heard my views on the young people" shouted Alan Tunnacliffe, as Stewart said there was "no possibility of engagement between the public and Cabinet". Alan walked out in disgust.

Meanwhile, his wife, Margaret, interrupted John Merry who was busy soothing concerns, explaining that the regulatory bodies had "expressed no objections" to the proposals…

"So it's ok for adults and children to mix?" she asked…

"Next question" said Stewart ignoring her.

The Mayor summed up how he had "listened carefully to parents" and had to do "what's in the interests of all adults and children in the city", before passing the plans without any dissent from his Assistant Mayors, and then personally showing the public the door.

Outside, there were tears from some parents, anger from others…

"I seriously now believe that we don't live in a democracy" said Alan "It's absolute rubbish, you're not allowed to say anything. They said one person could talk for a token five minutes – was he frightened of parents' views? If we asked any questions they blanked us completely; what a waste of time. Everything that Stewart said, he's gone back on."

Margaret explained that "at the formal meeting we had with the Mayor and John Merry at the end of September, Stewart turned round and said that if they couldn't separate children and adults the proposals wouldn't go forward. He's lied."

The parents point out that two rooms are being proposed for upstairs at Granville, and if the children stay in there, almost like a prison, they won't mix with adults. But if they want to play in the garden or partake in activities, or in some cases use the bathroom, they will be mixing with adults.

"My son can't even have a bath without going through the adult areas" said David Thornley

"I feel as though Ian Stewart is shoving every person with a disability away in Ellesmere Park [which houses Granville and two special schools], that's his plan" decided Sharon "Just shove them all in there. He just doesn't care. Connor's not going to Granville. End of."

Indeed, all parents who attended the Cabinet meeting this morning were adamant that their kids won't be going to Granville.

"We'll get no respite now" said Alan "They always harp on about how carers will be looked after, well they're not. We've got to be fit and well and healthy in order to look after these children…"

And Sharon added "The chances are we'll end up cracking up, we're already worried about our health."

David could barely speak… "They're abandoning us. I'm a single parent, what am I going to do?"

A UNISON member who works directly with the children at The Grange explained the full potential affect of the Mayor's decision, which is supposed to save money by bringing children with long term care needs, who are currently placed in centres outside of the city, back to Salford …

"Parents are going to break down, children are going to be in full time care and they're not going to be able to bring anyone in from outside anyway because all the spaces will be taken up by children of parents who just can't cope any more…"

Despite the decision, the fight to Save The Grange is still not over. The campaign is looking for a councillor with a few morals left to `call-in' the decision on all sorts of grounds. If there is one councillor in Salford with such morals they are urged to get in touch with the campaign.

There are also other avenues to reverse the decision which will be looked at in the coming weeks. To keep up to date with developments see the Save The Grange facebook site.

Main photo shows Margaret Tunnacliffe with children Nathan and Lucy

DAVID THORNLEY wrote
at 5:46:24 PM on Thursday, November 28, 2013
Just to add to yesterday's comments,I find it interesting that although the council says its ok to mix vulnerable CHILDREN and vulnerable ADULTS in the same facility that there are no plans to have specialist childcare workers at Granville. So adult care workers who have never dealt with children as young as 14 before are expected to take up the job. I for one cannot believe that Ofsted who are supposed to have responsibility for children refuse to come knocking at their door. the parents have been told that they have washed their hands by saying that because it's an adult facility the Quality care commision will be responsible for inspecting Granville.
 
CBP wrote
at 5:46:18 PM on Thursday, November 28, 2013
It is a disgrace. When the going gets tough, instead of sticking to the guns of Labour principles, their backbone collapses and they whimper with policies no better than a Tory run council. Their job is to ensure that the poor and vulnerable are protected and get the best service possible. The problem is that these Councilors have had it so cushy during the Blair / Brown years, and now happy to sit back with their cushy wages whilst patronising their electorate with "blame the Government". Even Tory Councils through tough years ring fence cash for their own interests. This is such dangerous behavior, it leads to hopelessness and anger amongst the electorate, they feel duped that their own Party, (that they thought would protect them), have stabbed them in the backs. People then turn to extremist parties like UKIP or the BNP because they feel they have no voice. The only way to deal with this is to join the Labour Party, go to your local meetings and make your voice heard. It's important to make the people feel uncomfortable, awkward, embarrassed and ashamed by the decisions they are making. If they argue shout at them Clause IV of the Aims and Values of the Party: "A JUST SOCIETY, which judges its strength by the condition of the weak as much as the strong, provides security against fear, and justice at work; which nurtures families, promotes equality of opportunity, and delivers people from the tyranny of poverty, prejudice and the abuse of power" We really need to get the old guard out, they have no values, ideas or bottle. Bring in the NEW!
 
Tracy Palmer wrote
at 4:24:13 PM on Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I can not believe what I am reading today........ My own son out of city for 12 yrs, a respite service 25 nights per year at a cost of £389 per night........ No not a great many nights for a single parent coping with severe complex needs of 2 children. But a 3 yr fight with Salford council to drop this service and take a direct payment to support care in Salford. A fight!! For 3 years to get a service better suited, in my own community at less than half the price..... That's Salford for you.......Now in Adult service my information was that Granville was struggling to offer support to the Adult community let alone provide for our teens too.......Serious thoughts when power to vote a new councilor.....
 
wrote
at 4:24:08 PM on Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Salford Childrens Services? Dis service more like! This nasty uncaring bunch of idiots have no idea of what level of care these special children SHOULD have! Look around voters of Salford these uncaring clowns are gradually decimating ALL the services these young people have had..schools medical and respite! my deepest regrets go to the parents who will now be on duty 24/7 365 . just hope one day some of these counc leaders require care and recieve it commesurate with the level they have decided for our special children and young people
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 8:36:48 AM on Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Why is the BBC not broadcasting this news. If the BBC want to be part of Salford they must take more interest in what causes local people pain. Let me thank those putting their views on here. Please do keep writing in, lots of local people are listening to what is being said. Resentment of bad decisions made by our Council is now making our blood boil.
 
roger marsh wrote
at 8:36:00 AM on Wednesday, November 27, 2013
My daughter works with these children So I have some kind of insight into there needs.When are the people of Salford going to wake up ? year after year this labour council get in and then blame everyone else for the cuts.How many deputy mayors do we need ? a case of to many chiefs and not enough Indians.Its time for a change after all nobody has had a chance for years. I for one will not be voting labour in the local elections next year.Its time for the jobs for the boys to end. Only the people of Salford can do it +
 
Amin wrote
at 8:35:37 AM on Wednesday, November 27, 2013
This IS a new low. Hysterical, absurd, extreme, disrespectful, rude, and stupid.
 
David Thornley wrote
at 3:49:28 AM on Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Having seen first hand what democracy looks like in the council chambers yesterday I' have to say that I'm appalled. Councillor Merry stated that we as parents had been consulted throughout the process, actually we were not, we were consulted up to the point where the council realised that sleeping arrangements at Granville consisted of 12 bedrooms on one floor which children and adults were expected to sleep next door to each other!!! This prompted councillors to run around trying to come up with a solution to this problem which they tried to do (credit to them for at least,that) So the plan is to have two bedrooms upstairs although it doesn't matter that these children are used to having their respite with up to 4 other children!! So my point is since the change to the original plan the council say we have been consulted when in actual fact all that was offered was coffee mornings with each parent singularly. I'll finish by saying my child will not go to Granville along with many others and in the future two things will happen firstly everyone will read about an incident that's taken place due to these proposals and secondly the money saved by the council in this endeavour will be negated by the money it will cost them when families go into crisis and are forced to put there children into care. An angry and heartbroken dad
 
NOREEN BAILEY wrote
at 4:19:30 PM on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
you are supposed to be the people who listen to us we are parents that work so hard to try and keep our young people at home so we don't put extra pressure on our councils and this is how we are repaid ,how do you all come to the decision that everything we need for our special young people should be closed and taken from us why don't you try and walk a mile in our footsteps just so you can see the look on our sons and daughters faces when they realise that they cannot go to their only bit of outside meeting places with their friends, we will rise up and show you all what we are made of if only you thought more about the people that vote for you all instead of just casting us and our loved ones who cant fight for themselves to one side you should all be ashamed of yourselves from a very angry mum
 
Richard Leahy wrote
at 4:19:25 PM on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Firstly we actually vote these people in so we just as easily vote them out!!!!!! i thought that front line services were supposedly being protected obviously not in Salford, they are more concerned about paying for rugby grounds!!!!! They will say that they haven't increased council tax but in effect they have by reducing or charging for services that used to be free making the vulnerable and disadvantaged pay more for less services
 
margaret tunnacliffe wrote
at 4:19:15 PM on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
We would not agree to his demand to allow one parent to speak for 5 minutes as we parents did not think it was fair to put pressure on the one parent so he decided not to let any parent speak.In doing exactly that we were not allowed our views or concerns to be heard so we asked the questions anyway to be ignored.If they think by having a positive result from 1 parent out of 27 families is good feed back then what makes a negative? because none of the negatives were heard in that meeting.we as parents came out of that meeting upset,angry and downright disgusted and some were in tears but they DO NOT CARE.And for Councillor Merry to say at the end about they need to try and see if this works just goes to show he has no concerns or issues in keeping either the adults or children safe.You said in the meeting that adults and adults fight and that is true ,so do children and children but where have you seen children and adults fight and this is a safe guarding issue.I hope to GOD no adult or child is hurt through these proposals because if that happens god help you.
 
Reg Howard wrote
at 4:17:11 PM on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I have been reading the comments from people regarding the closure of the Grange and the part played by Ian Stewart and his cronies,it is apparent to me that these cretins are completely devoid of feelings or sentiments,how can they sit back and make life changing rules without feeling any kind of remorse,perhaps it is time to exercise some people power and get rid of the whole lot, imagine if every council tax payer refused to pay until they all resigned,it would be a pleasure to watch them all squirm like the worms they are, after all could they put us all in prison, i am up for it,are you ?
 
not happy wrote
at 4:16:33 PM on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
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) 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, but with this level of cuts, there are bound to be casualties. Don’t see any of Salford Council being casualties, from the Grange to the mental heath drop-ins, the vulnerable and the needy, the elderly, these people who were elected to help the people of Salford are not doing there job think it’s time to have a change. I for one will go for Barton Against David jolly might not get in but the people of Eccles will now that the council are not doing there job.
 
Mandy Dickens wrote
at 1:14:48 PM on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
As a lifelong Salford citizen and labour voter, I am appalled that Ian Stewart and the Councillors who are supposed to represent and fight for the people of our great city have HUGELY let down families and young people who should be able to depend on their support. I am DISGUSTED that they feel it acceptable to ignore parents and not allow them to advocate for their children. This decision is so SHORT-SIGHTED that it beggars belief and harks back to the times of institutional care. Having children under 14 with foster carers is unrealistic - are these families already recruited, trained and ready to take on the highly demanding care needs??? I don't think so- I know first hand that there have never been enough foster carers for respite so what's changed??? Bring back those young people in outside placements back into Salford into the Grange building? Oh yes, lets disrupt their settled placements and put them all together to save some money!!! Again short-sighted- how can it possibly be assumed that this will be a compatible arrangement. Mr Mayor - I propose that the people of Salford cut your salary, put you in a home with people half or twice your age, give you no choice about this and expect you to quietly get on with everyone. I hope that there are some councillors left who have morals, decency and sensationalist of what it means to serve the public. I hope there are a brave few who will stand up for their public and support these families in their fight to protect their children. I hope that not all in local office have become lemmings who will follow no matter what. And Mr Stewart - I firmly believe that you reap what you sow so will await the day when you shout and no one listens - and it WILL come
 
wrote
at 1:13:34 PM on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
john merry i know you read this excellent paper so here is a message for you and your mates on salford council you should be completley disgusted today with your attempts at democracy to let people attend an open meeting then not let them say anything is a total disgrace where do think we live im begining to think its russia not the uk so you and your mates can stick your democracy right up your jacksy thank you
 
Steven North wrote
at 1:13:20 PM on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
This was a new low today. The parents were told one of them could speak for five minutes. They asked if five parents could speak for a minute each instead to remove the pressure from one individual and to make sure nothing was missed (perfectly reasonable requests given that they have never been through anything like this before) and the Mayor just ignored them. The arrogance is breath-taking. Just rude and disrespectful. I'd love to say it has nothing to do with politics, but it flows from a political view that sees ordinary people as something to be dealt with, pushed around, manipulated and patronised. I'm sure I'll get accused of "rent a crowd" politics for saying this, but some of these parents should stand for council against those cowards who did nothing today but ask anodyne questions that had clearly been agreed with the Mayor and Councillor Merry beforehand. I'd vote for them.
 
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