Worst deal for the most vulnerable

by Anood Al-Samerai on 6 July, 2012

This week’s full council meeting saw Lib Dem councillors standing up again for what really matters in Southwark. From day centres to nurseries. From arguing for proper and open council recruitment processes to showing Labour up for changing their own targets because they’re not meeting them. From caring for the vulnerable to protecting community heritage.

I was most upset about the chipping away that is happening with day centres for the elderly and vulnerable in our borough. It infuriates me that the Labour council think they can get away with it because these aren’t popular vote-winning issues. They are using spin and information – they’re still open, they just don’t have a building! They’re not closing, they’re merging! There will be a new centre – we just don’t know what, where or when! It’s just like the nurseries – they’re not closing, they’re just withdrawing childcare!

Since becoming Leader of the Lib Dem council group, I have visited most of the day centres in our borough. The service that the fantastic and dedicated staff give to our most vulnerable residents is amazing. Day centres are more than just buildings. They give freedom to older people with dementia, to people struggling with mental health problems and to those with physical and learning disabilities. Real people with real lives and real families.

I don’t think the Labour councillors even know what’s going on with the day services in the borough. Either that or they don’t care. Because they’re just being chipped away at. Whether it’s cuts to funding or staff or delaying the personal budgets process. It’s the uncertainty and anxiety that is so terrible for people who have such severe and complex needs.

I will continue to press the council to make sure that the services at places like Queens Road, Riverside, Maroons, Crossways and many other fantastic places continue. And I will continue to argue that they have to be far more honest about what is really going on.

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