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SALFORD COUNCIL SLASHES TRANSPORT FOR SPECIAL NEEDS PEOPLE
 

Star date: 8th February 2014

SPECIAL NEEDS CARER CHALLENGES SALFORD MAYOR TO SHOW HIS FACE AT MONDAY MEETING

"We've all got to stand up and be counted now" Noreen Bailey

Public Meeting: Cuts To Special Needs Transport Escorts
Monday 10th February 6:30pm
Swinton British Legion

Carer Noreen Bailey has challenged Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart to show his face at a meeting of parents and carers to explain to them why he is cutting escorts and transport for adults with special needs… "The Council doesn't realise how much it is taking away from us" says Noreen.

Full details here…


Noreen Bailey is foster mum to three lads, aged between 24 and 43, who have severe disabilities and special needs. For a few days a week the lads go to the Waterside and Granville centres and are picked up by buses that have expert escorts on board to ensure their safety.

"Without them we wouldn't let our kids travel" Noreen explains "If they are having a fit or they're not well the escorts know when to bring them back. They are the ones who care for them while they are on the buses."

In line with ConDem Government cuts to Salford Council, and, in turn, Salford Council cuts to some of the most vulnerable people in the city, the escorts and most of the drivers are facing the axe in a £502,000 cut which Council officers coldly describe as a `Revised Vulnerable Adults Offer' for `in house transport provision'.

"We've been told they are going to stop all the escorts and they are cutting down the amount of adults who go on the coaches" says Noreen "But the Council doesn't realise how much it is taking away from us."

Noreen and other parents and carers pay for the service at £3.70 per day per person, after the Council introduced the charges last year. That adds up to over £26 a week for Noreen's lads…

"What annoys me is that we pay, it's a good service and the escorts are there to keep our kids safe, so now what are we supposed to do?" she asks "They are saying that the people who work at the centres will have to transport the people but I've no idea how they are going to do that. If the Council has its way, transport is going to go down and they are going to end up closing the centres because people can't get there."

Samantha, whose brother has special needs, and Sue, who has a special needs child, are equally upset about the cuts.

"They don't understand that a lot of the mothers work, so they rely on the transport to drop their sons and daughters off at the centres and then bring them either home or to a relations house" Sue says "They will have to give up work to get the adults to the centres and to pick them up again. And a lot of parents don't even drive.

"I just think it's disgusting" she adds "It's always our kids and adults – they've closed The Grange, they've closed Craig Hall, now this…it's always us."

Margaret Tunnacliffe was one of the mums who campaigned against the closure of short term respite care at The Grange for her young special needs son. She, and other parents, got labelled `Rent-a-crowd' by Salford Mayor Ian Stewart for their efforts (see here). Now her daughter, Lucy, will be affected by this latest cut…

"It's not enough we had to fight for our children's respite, now we have to fight for our daughter to keep transport to get her to and from her adult respite" she says "The Mayor certainly doesn't care that he has stopped the help for moderated disabled adults and children, now he has to attack the escorts taking them to and from school/respite and they are needed so much. That man may as well go to the other side because he is not working for the people of Salford but for those lot who are in Government."

Now Noreen Bailey has issued a public challenge to the Salford Mayor to come to a public meeting called by parents and carers this coming Monday, 10th February at Swinton Royal Legion (for full details see below)…

"If you are a true Labour Mayor you will not ignore us, you will come along and listen to what we have to say and show us that you care what happens" she wrote.

"I went on his Facebook and he just deleted me!" says Noreen "I just wish he'd meet me. I would like him to come to the meeting. This is making people angry…everywhere we go we're hitting a brick wall, nobody wants to listen to us. But we've got to fight this, otherwise everything is going to go.

"We want them to know that we won't sit down, we've all got to stand up and be counted now because it's not getting better it's getting worse. It's horrendous, an absolute disgrace. We pay for something but it's not for our kids."

Sue points to the bridges, the fountain, Media City and the salaries of 13 Assistant Mayors… "It's all show, show, show" she says "The old Salford was never like that, it was about the people, we all pulled together. This isn't about what we want, it's about what we need…"

Noreen has also launched a petition against the cuts to transport escorts on Change.org (for details see below) which asks for people to not only sign but also to give reasons for signing. One of the first comments on the site was from Jane, an escort facing the axe…

"I am employed by Salford to take a young adult to college" she writes "I've worked on transport buses taking children to primary school for nine years. It's a job I love, you build up a great relationship with the children and young adults, and the parents and carers. They put their trust in you to take their child to school or college. It's not a case of just strapping them in and sitting in a seat, you have a great responsibility to make sure they arrive safe and happy.

"If any issues arise you help them as best as you can" she adds "But most importantly the children get to know you and trust you. I have made friends with many parents and also with the children. I am not writing this in fear of losing a job I love, I am writing this for the sake of the children and young adults, parents and carers who need this vital service. Please don't let the most vulnerable people of our society lose out once again because of cut backs…"

The parents, carers and workers are being backed in the fight against the cuts by Salford City UNISON, and treasurer Ameen Hadi told the Salford Star…

"Salford City UNISON expresses our full support and solidarity with the carers fighting for transport for their severely disabled children, and we offer our help in any way to get the Council to reverse its proposal."

With millions of pounds set aside in Salford Council's budget for cuts it cannot implement (see previous Salford Star article – click here) the parents and carers are hoping that Salford Mayor Ian Stewart will turn up on Monday, hear about the impact of his proposals and back off from hitting the most vulnerable people in Salford yet again…

Cuts To Special Needs Transport Public Meeting
Monday 10th February 6:30pm
Swinton Royal Legion
Cheetham Road, Salford M27 4UQ

To sign Noreen's Change.org petition – click here

Photo shows Noreen, Samantha and pet dog Pip


 

Janet Marshall wrote
at 09:30:50 on 13 February 2014
Supported travel is vital to allow some people to access the community and get the support they need. The knock on effects of these cut backs will have a life changing impact, not only for the families of the person being supported but the people providing that support. Please re-think this decision.
 
bernice derbyshire wrote
at 12:07:02 on 11 February 2014
I think its absolutely disgusting, taking services off the most vunerable, who is going to take responsibility when things go wrong? i worked as a passenger assistant for many years and its not just a job to us we care about our passengers, taking vital transport and services away from them is neglet , no other word for it. salford council are negleting their most needy citizens . its disgraceful to say the least.
 
Tony Blair say's wrote
at 05:26:11 on 10 February 2014
These cuts are just political. Both Stewart and labour are making these cuts in light of the forthcoming elections, everyone on this site could make cuts that would not include vital services such as these, but Stewart and labour don't give a damn about salford people. What salford people need to do is vote out all Salford's labour councillors at the next election, these are the spineless basterds who allowed this to happen, these are the labour councillors who put their own money grabbing political careers before there constituents needs.
 
margaret tunnacliffe wrote
at 05:18:47 on 09 February 2014
Noreen when we were fighting against for the Grange to be kept as a short term respite unit for our kids it was only when we lobbied him at Eccles town Hall that he finally said he would meet up with us.As you know he won't turn up at the meeting because he is afraid to meet with parents,carers and anybody else involved in fear off what will happen and the fact he would not be able to answer the questions. Once the changes are made at the Grange which is soon our son wont be getting respite because we refuse to allow him to share Granville with the adults and because lucy will be 18 next week she will become an adult and if they do stop the buses then lucy wont get any respite and neither will we which will then in turn mean we wont get any respite at all unless it in school holidays where we wont have to go back to and fro from school to granville to back home and vice versa.I will be at the meeting on monday.
 
noreen wrote
at 17:29:14 on 08 February 2014
it would be good if he did come but every time he ignores us he lets us know what an uncaring person he is and the amount of negative feed backs we get just shows him how much he is disliked I know he wont come but at least I have the satisfaction that we love our special young people and that we will fight for them till we have no fight left in us thank you for your reply and so glad you agree with us all as to what he is regards Noreen
 
noreen wrote
at 14:08:14 on 08 February 2014
thank you so much for printing this the name is appropriate you took time to listen to us you are a star Noreen sue and sam and of course pip
 
wrote
at 14:07:44 on 08 February 2014
sorry noreen you have more chance of pigs flying than you have of stewart turning up and explaining .he has no heart or feeling towards anybody and if by some remote chance he did turn up he would baffle you with bullshit and false promises then go back to council and deny that he had promised anything he is well known for this oh what the hell i will be more blunt what i really mean is he is a two faced liar
 
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