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DISGUST AT SALFORD MAYOR AS SERVICE USERS WALK OUT OF PUBLIC HEALTH CUTS MEETING
 

Star date: 28th April 2015

"IT'S ABOUT TIME SALFORD PEOPLE GOT HEARD – NOT THE RICH, THE POORER ONES" Anne, service user

Salford Mayor Ian Stewart was the target for the fury of service users this morning as they stormed out of a Salford City Council Cabinet meeting, disgusted that their views were being ignored.

The Cabinet was discussing plans to cut £1.6million from the Health Improvement Service, and following a protest outside, people went into the Cabinet meeting to hear what councillors and the Mayor had to say. But they walked out after handing over a petition which Stewart, at first, refused to accept... "It's not fair and it's about time Salford people got heard – not the rich, the poorer ones", said Anne, a service user.

Full details here...


Salford Health Improvement Service Cuts Protest Salford Health Improvement Service Cuts Protest Salford Health Improvement Service Cuts Protest
Salford Health Improvement Service Cuts Protest Salford Health Improvement Service Cuts Protest Salford Health Improvement Service Cuts Protest
Salford Health Improvement Service Cuts Protest Salford Health Improvement Service Cuts Protest
click image to enlarge

"I just want a fair decision and an informed decision. I'm not a political being, that's not my role but Jesus said we have to fight for justice and for the poor and that's why I'm here - because I can't see any of that going on." Reverend Avis Gordon.

This morning over sixty people protested outside the Civic Centre, before a Salford City Council Cabinet meeting to discuss cuts of £1.616million to the city's Health Improvement Service, which helps elderly and vulnerable people to improve their wellbeing.

Campaigners, including Health Improvement workers, those who run community projects and those who use the services, gathered to demand that the Council holds a public consultation on the slashing of services, holding up cards that spelt `Time To Consult' and `No To Cuts'
 
"What we're asking for today is for the Cabinet to consult the public who actually use the service" Salford City UNISON's Ameen Hadi told the crowd "This isn't a radical demand, but if people are using a service they have the right to know why they are losing a service and a right to have their voices heard. That's all we are asking for today."

Following the protest, those who use the services and manage community projects that will be affected by the cut, went into the Cabinet meeting and tried to hand over a petition to Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart. He refused to accept it, citing protocol and saying it had to go through the `petitions officer'.

The public sat through the first part of the meeting and heard Assistant Mayor, Councillor Lisa Stone, say how the Health Improvement Service did "fantastic work" but the Council had to "prioritise outcomes", to re-direct the £1.6million cut into other services and to choose "the most appropriate areas to stop".

Assistant Mayor John Merry raised concerns about the city's mental health and wellbeing policies, saying there should be a "more comprehensive strategy" while Assistant Mayor Peter Connor added that the Community Impact Assessment for the cut was not clear – the one which stated there would be `no expected impact' (see previous Salford Star article – click here).

There was then a break where the `petitions officer' accepted the petition, and handed it to the Mayor who said "There is nothing in it that hasn't been discussed". It was shortly after this point that everyone in the public gallery walked out of the meeting...

"I'm disgusted" said Bernie Lomax, project manager for a Lower Kersal project that works with the Health Improvement Service (H.I.S.) team "I think we've just been totally ignored..."

"...it's because we're not rich" added service user Anne Jones "We get hit all the time. It's not fair and it's about time Salford people got heard – not the rich, the poorer ones."

Earlier, Anne, who attends healthy eating courses and a `wellbeing' coffee morning at Lark Hill Primary School, told of the impact it would have if the H.I.S. team gets cut...

"If these people go, where do we go then?" she asked "There's nowhere for families to meet up, have a chat and a coffee, put the world to rights and feel a lot better about yourself. The team has been doing cooking on a budget as there's a lot of young families who have never been taught to cook at home, and these ladies are coming in, showing you how to shop for the week and use the same ingredients for different meals every day.

"It will affect a lot of people" she added "We just get the worst end of it all the time. We pay our taxes like everyone else, why shouldn't we get the services like everybody else? It's always low income families who can't afford to get transport everywhere and pay for different courses."

Also at the protest was Reverend Avis Gordon, Associate Minister at St Thomas' C of E Church in Clifton Green... "I rely on the Health Improvement team to help me with the issues we have in our parish" she said "We have a lot of elderly people, we have a lot of lonely people, vulnerable people; we have mental health issues and these are the people who need ongoing support. So it's no use the Council saying `We're going to help these groups to do it on their own' because there are some groups who actually need help and support and I can't do it all...The Council hasn't thought it out.

"I think the Council should consult the public – and not the public who answer consultations; they should get out there to all the places where the H.I.S. actually works and talk to people" she added "Putting something on a website is not going to reach the people. I just want a fair decision and an informed decision. I'm not a political being, that's not my role but Jesus said we have to fight for justice and for the poor and that's why I'm here - because I can't see any of that going on."

Her husband, Stewart, added: "The Council wants the vulnerable to look after the vulnerable. They're being asked to provide services, and they're not trained to do that, they're just ordinary people. They haven't got the skills to organise budgets, do administration, CRB checks...and they shouldn't be expected to do it. It's just not safe unless there's a paid worker helping."

It is expected that much of the money being taking off the H.I.S. will be given to Salford Community Leisure (SCL) to try and replicate some of the lost services but health improvement worker and UNISON member Paul Foster believes this won't work...

"Our services are free and all community based, and I can't see anyone paying an induction fee of £15 at the gym or whatever it costs at SCL" he said "We work with some really difficult people and groups that are hard to reach...asylum seekers, people with drug and alcohol problems, the homeless and older people. I've delivered dementia awareness sessions to over one hundred people since October; it's part of Government targets yet this is one of the services they're cutting.

"We work face-to-face with around 15,000 people and have groups on top of that" he added "We do a massive amount of work with the elderly. We visit them and get them out of the house to community groups; if we didn't do that it would be a double whammy for them because they've had their care packages taken off them already as they're classed as only `moderate needs'. How are the other services going to get them to the groups we set up, if the groups we set up aren't there? Where are they going to go? They won't even be able to get out of the door."

One group who did `get out of the door' this morning were those who walked out of the Council's Cabinet meeting in disgust that these vulnerable people won't have a service, and aren't even to be consulted about losing their service.

With a reverend citing Jesus on the side of the Health improvement Service campaigners, and service users saying poorer Salford people don't get heard, it's incredibly embarrassing for the Labour Party in the city with an election looming next week...

* UPDATE: 29th April

Salford Council Cabinet and the Salford City Mayor passed the cut yesterday - with no mention of a Public Consultation. The £1.616m is to be  "redirected to support Early Years; Salford Community Leisure and a redefined neighbourhood offer; and public health protection through a strengthened environmental health function".


Photos by Steven Speed

jim collins wrote
at 09:36:59 on 30 April 2015
i have attended several meetings with the mayor and various councillors who all stated about we are all working together with the community in delivering a great health and care service to the people of salford so why have they given a large sum of money to a liverpool company to run our service and taken away money from salford clubs like salford heart care which has been running for 27 years with volunteers and has had to close branches in langworthy and walkden
 
Mike wrote
at 21:23:30 on 29 April 2015
no matter what salford throw at us a labour council will be in power vote for change
 
Dave wrote
at 11:45:56 on 29 April 2015
Well said Noreen. TUSC. The only future for Salford and Britain.
 
Fab wrote
at 11:45:51 on 29 April 2015
Time forvSewerRats Rats to put their crayons away and wash their coffe cups. They're history in May. As for SewerRat , the countdown is running . Suggest he gets his camper an serviced and readybforbhis expulsion . TUSC. Thevonlybsane way forward.
 
Michael F in SalFord wrote
at 10:52:49 on 29 April 2015
Much anger is to be expected from the savage cuts. May I beg, whoever is elected in Salford this year makes a priority to form an innovative Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Programme to focus on increasing community resilience and to bring better support into Salford communities by using grass root voices to tackle issues that are destroying lives.
 
jane ransley wrote
at 05:58:15 on 29 April 2015
Maybe they should have charged all those developers the planning fees, then they would have to make the cuts ! I think they should pay up !
 
wendy olsen wrote
at 05:58:10 on 29 April 2015
Ian Stewart was notably absent from both the central Salford Hustings. does he even live here? we need a change.
 
Paul Quinn wrote
at 05:57:51 on 29 April 2015
Three years ago the Elected Mayor & Salford council started culing all the esenshall services in Salford the Mental health drop ins then later all the Adult services disable transport serves ( even though its still going through the high court in London ) then childrens services even though the council by law should provide these services ;; Your local council can provide help if you have a disabled child, including short break services, holiday play schemes, care at home some, aids and adaptations ,financial help (eg money towards travel costs for hospital visits)Your council has a duty to provide these services under the Children Act 1989. Some are free of charge - the council might ask you to contribute towards others.If you think your child may qualify, contact the social services team at your local council.A social worker will then talk to you about the needs of your family, including:health ,social care ,education This is called a ‘needs assessment’ - the social worker will give you advice on what to do next.You can also ask your council about local support groups for carers and families with disabled children. Help with costs;; That now is going to be a problem because they have cut £1.6 million from the from the Health improvement team which covers all kinds groups in Salford yet . From“SalfordOnline Speaking at Salford Civic Centre, Mr Stewart said the only way to safeguard council services in the long-term was through continued regeneration and investment in the city. Over the past five years we’ve secured £1.3 billion of private sector and £425 million of public sector investment in Salford, creating over 5,000 jobs. That’s a return of £22 in investment for every £1 the council has invested,” he said. We’re expecting £3.8 billion worth of in vestment in the city over the next 10 years, which will ultimately generate over £160 million in council tax and business rates alone. Keeping that going and trying to attract even more investment is the only sustainable way to counter on-going austerity and protect vital public services in the long-run; So with all this money that Salford is getting why all the cuts sorry nearly forgot then there’s this one Salford City Council staff have been given the green light to launch a new company to deliver £10.5 million worth of adult social care services. Around 400 staff will transfer to the independent not for profit company which they will own. Aspire will be commissioned by Salford City Council to deliver services for around 800 local residents with substantial and critical needs. This service takes over on the 1 June any other person heard any thing about Aspire..
 
norma parkinson-green wrote
at 20:32:50 on 28 April 2015
This is just a typical reaction from Salford Council. No consultation, no information to the wider community. Of course it will have an impact on the community if this service goes. The community impact assessment has probably not reached all the people that use this service, if any! Week after week we are hearing of cuts to the most vulnerable while they let property dealers off with paying what they should. Shame on you all you don't deserve our support.
 
noreen bailey wrote
at 20:32:34 on 28 April 2015
how on earth can one man cause so much hurt and unrest and yet never be held to account for his actions, well its time to let him know that he is not wanted please lets all stand together I have fought for this last 12 months and yes I still don't have any transport for my boys yes I am weary and get fed up and tired but this has also made me realise I need to find a way to make this person who thinks he can just do as he pleases to us here in Salford, and the only way is what I am doing now standing for Parliament and being a voice for my boys and the most vulnerable in our city and to show ian stewart that that women who sat in his room being looked down on and laughed at DID NOT GO AWAY and while I have a breath left in my body I will fight for the people of our beautiful city SALFORD so I really do ask everyone that read this post please use your vote wisely I found my comrades in arms in TUSC not one member let me down and I will always be here for anyone who needs my help just like they did for me Just now · Edited · Like · 1
 
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