Tuesday, 3 March 2015
An Open Letter to Jackie Doyle-Price MP
The following letter has been sent to the Thurrock Gazette, the Thurrock Enquirer and Your Thurrock.
Dear Ms Doyle-Price,
I was wondering what your opinion was on the cuts to the funding of vital services in Thurrock is as you seem to be extremely quiet on the subject.
I refer to the cut in funding through Thurrock Council to the excellent service provided by Family Mosaic that provides, amongst other things, support workers for individuals who are at their most vulnerable and in the most need of help.
The cuts, due to take effect at the start of April, will mean that home visits to a great deal of Family Mosaic’s clients will have to be halted and those clients who are affected will have to travel to one of the new ‘hubs’ that will be set up. The need to travel to a ‘hub’ site will not prove a problem for some, such as myself, but there are two major hurdles that will present problems for the affected individuals.
The first problem is quite a major one for a vital service – with only a month left of the current funding, the sites for the ‘hubs’ have not even been found yet which is putting pressure on Family Mosaic and increasing the stress on the clients who rely on the service.
The second problem is that the locations chosen for the ‘hubs’ may not have the privacy required for clients to discuss some deeply personal, deeply distressing issues without fear of other people hearing those issues.
The cut to Family Mosaic’s funding by Thurrock Council is, however, not the fault of the council but of the Government of which you are a part which is savagely cutting the funding of everything that isn’t nailed down.
Where is your outrage, Ms Doyle-Price? Where is your voice of protest in the defence of your constituents, the people you say you represent? Your silence is deafening.
And what about the state of the staffing of sheltered housing in Thurrock where wardens are being moved from one group of units to another without a thought for the need to build up a rapport with the residents of a single unit or where some groups of units are left with no on-site cover?
The problem is that moving the staff around is no help to people who need to have some sense of continuity in their lives, continuity that could be provided by a permanent on-site warden. Permanent wardens for each group of units would improve the care that residents are given as each warden would have the time to get to know their residents and their quirks, foibles and care needs thus be able to anticipate future problems.
There will obviously be times when a warden due to illness or annual leave won’t be available but some of the vulnerable people who live in such accommodation can cope with such short-term disruptions. This is not the case when disruptions are the norm.
I do some voluntary work with a couple in the “warden assisted” accommodation in Dexter Close (I use quotation marks advisedly as there are occasions when there is no on-site warden) and, whilst there is a warden on-site at the moment, that situation is only short-term and only for three days a week. At all other times, the residents are restricted to the help that arrives from off-site in response to a pull of the emergency cord in their property. This is just not good enough.
This lack of on-site help and built rapport with a permanent warden has led to the situation that the couple I work with on a voluntary basis have on a number of occasions called me on the phone for help because they trust me and have a rapport with me. I live a 20 minute walk from their property and have a life of my own that has to be put on hold to help them because there is no on-site help available (and at the time, according to them, the emergency cord wasn’t working to summon assistance). Is this the situation you feel is right and proper for your constituents, Ms Doyle-Price?
Is your silence on these matters because you don’t know they are happening? If so, why don’t you know? Surely as the representative for Thurrock you should know exactly what’s going on in the area?
Is your silence because you don’t care? If so, how can you say you represent anyone in Thurrock?
Or is your silence because there isn’t a lovely photo opportunity with a member of your party’s higher echelons in it for you?
Do, please, tell us, Ms Doyle-Price because some of us are desperate to know the answer to one very important question –
Who do you serve?
Waiting impatiently for your reply,
Myles Cook, Grays
If I get any response, it will be published right here.