Bromsgrove group protests against service cuts

By Tristan Harris Tuesday 21 January 2014 Updated: 21/01 22:32

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BROMSGROVE residents went to County Hall in Worcester on Tuesday (January 21) to protest against cuts to services and collect signatures on a petition against the changes.

One service user who has Asperger Syndrome and depends on a support worker told The Standard: "I have had the services for a number of years and there is a good chance they will now be removed so we want to make our feelings felt."

She said the support worker spent four to five hours a week with her and called everyday to see if she needed help with anything.

As well as taking her to the Rainbows autism and Asperger group at the Ryland Centre, they also take her shopping and help her with day-to-day tasks that many people take for granted. These include making sure she pays the bills, rent and council tax and organising and attending medical appointments.

She said without the help of the support worker, she would not leave the house and become almost imprisoned in her own home.

"At the Worcestershire County Council meeting last week, it appeared they have gone into this with no plan.

"If the cuts go ahead, there will be more pressure on mental health and other services."

Speaking about the protest, she said it went really well.

She had never done anything like it before and the fact she had taken such a drastic step showed how strongly she felt about the proposed changes.

Worcestershire County Councillor Chris Bloore was among those who signed the petition, which was handed into the authority.

"I am fully behind their cause as I know how much great work support workers are doing across Bromsgrove and Worcestershire to help people.

"The cuts to the supporting people budget will have a dramatic effect on the lives of many of the people I represent.

"I will be voting and speaking against these cuts as we should be protecting vulnerable people in our communities, not removing the support they rely on,” he added,

Coun Sheila Blagg, Worcestershire County Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: "The county council is always keen to hear from residents and listen to their views.

"I want to ensure residents that all of the feedback we've received, including the suggestions in the petition received earlier today will be taken into account before any final decision is made."

Another protest has been organised at County Hall for February 13, the day of the next full county council meeting.

Representatives from unions will also be holiding a rally on the same day.

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