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27 February 2009
Patrick Horan write on Disability Issues.....
This week I would like to tell you how proud I am of Southwark Disablement Association (SDA) and my colleagues, as during the recent spell of bad weather, when 95 per cent of businesses closed their doors and did not operate, SDA were open throughout, helping the disabled and vulnerable people of Southwark.
One domiciliary care assistant even walked two miles in the snow on that Monday night to put a client to bed as no public transport was running. Age Concern also serviced their clients; they are also another voluntary organisation that is suffering because Southwark Council hand out contracts to private companies who are not known for a long term commitment to older and disabled people (in order to save a few pennies).
While SDA and Age Concern might be slightly more expensive, you get what you pay for and with SDA and Age Concern that is quality and reliability.
These days, every time we turn on the radio or TV or read a paper we are reminded of cuts, job losses and the economic downturn.
Besides all of this gloom and doom we in Southwark also have to suffer cuts to essential services due to a lower than expected annual grant from the Government over the next three years. This has all come about due to a flawed formulae system of population figures. We have to wonder what our elected representatives are doing to put this right. We are not the only London borough to receive these cuts, but most of the other Inner London boroughs who have say that they can just absorb them, which begs the question, why not Southwark? Maybe, it's because of the millions that they have squandered on things like temporary agency staff.
I would like to mention my good friend Tom White from Southwark Pensioners’ Action Group (SPAG) who does a magnificent job for the elderly. He is one of six volunteer lay inspectors who ensure that care homes have acceptable standards for elderly people. When he told me the names of those on his team, I was more than happy as you have six of the best people in Southwark doing the job. Tom is also a health campaigner and is currently working with Simon Hughes on a campaign to get the NHS to honour the commitment given to the community regarding the closure of the Maudsley Hospital's 24 hour A&E in 2007.
Until the next time may your God go with you.
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