By Harriet Ernstsons Thursday 24 October 2013 Updated: 28/10 08:17
FURIOUS carers have hit out at council plans they say ignore the needs of the disabled people they look after.
The We Have A Voice Action group officially launched this month in response to the Future Lives proposals from Worcestershire County Council, which would see Matchborough Day Centre closed and changes made to the way residents access services.
Chair Sandra Rohan Kickham said after meeting with the council, they felt the changes would be a backwards step for the county, resulting in the segregation of the current group of people who use the Matchborough site, opened just four years ago after a £250,000 refurbishment.
Speaking at the launch of the group, she said: “We want the voices of the people we care for to be heard and we want our voices to be heard because quite frankly I don’t think anybody is taking any notice of our voices at the moment.
“All of them are behind closed doors making decisions and suddenly we’ll all just be moved around like puppets.”
Another resident said: “Why do they think this is the best way to do it and they know better than us? They have no right to take it away from those individuals, they wouldn’t do that to any other person, are they such second class citizens that they take it away from them?”
Coun John Fisher added: “This is clearly driven by the needs of the council not the needs of the people who use the service. I can’t think of a more vulnerable group of people to be affected by this, it appals me.”
WHAV members expressed concerns over other aspects of the plans, which are expected to be voted through by councillors on November 7, including whether safeguarding procedures would be in place for the volunteers the council expects to bring on board to help assist with care, how carers without access to the internet would be able to use a new online system to buy in services for the person they cared for and about the extent of the consultation over the future of Matchborough and the Halcyon Day Centre earlier this year, which they said none of them had been involved in.
A spokeswoman for county council said the consultation had involved 163 service users, 124 family carer units and 96 staff.
Checks would be introduced for the bank of volunteers depending on their intended role, for example someone providing social care would need a higher level of checks than those offering pottery lessons.
She added: “There will be a variety of ways for older people to receive support. This could include being helped by relatives, friends or neighbours. Plus, we are also looking at working more closely with libraries and GP surgeries to help people access online services. For people who have no family friends or are unable to access community support we will ensure there is appropriate support available.”
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