Saturday, 9 October 2010

A "S.A.D." Tale - The Ealing Labour Councillor's Contempt For Day Care Centre Users...

On 30 September Ealing Labour councillor and within the local cabinet Adult Social Services portfolio holder Cllr Jasbir Anand (Southall Green Ward) was invited to the Albert Dane Centre (ADC). The service user committee and staff wanted to ask her some questions on the proposed closure of the centre.

Cllr Jasbir Anand (Labour, Southall Green)

ADC is a day centre for adults with a physical disability or sensory impairment and according to the many service users that have passed through it's gates has been a 'life saver' in many ways thanks to the dedication and skill of it's staff team and the friendship that is generated amongst the close knit group of service users.
Cllr Anand was greeted at the centre's gates by many of the centre's service users holding up banners, some from their wheelchairs. They had been instructed not to place them on council property. They chanted slogans including "hands off our centre" and "no cuts to frontline services".

Service users, carers, staff and concerned people from the local community packed the hall to question and listen to Cllr Anand. Service user group chairperson Val Garrard read out a series of questions that other users had asked her to put forward. Cllr Anand was reprimanded for ducking several questions.
Cllr Anand said that the "Private and voluntary sector would do a better job of providing the service they require than Albert Dane Centre staff." This was met by gasps from the staff and service users and the audience in general.

Service Users Making Their Views Clear

The local pastor put forward a financial proposal to keep the centre open. He spoke of the myth that the voluntary sector would have capacity to cope with the demand and said that the councillor needed to be more honest. To this Cllr Anand shouted at him and said: "Don't you dare call me a liar. You have attended my surgeries in the past. I have tried to help you out. I won't help you anymore."
Cllr Anand's overly aggressive behaviour was met by a tirade of anger from users who spoke passionately about their need for the service.
Having had my hand up for 40 minutes, service users forced the council official who was chairing to let me speak. However, Cllr Anand heckled and said "I'm not interested in talking to the unions" while refusing to answer my question.
Cllr Anand's apparent contempt for staff, users and carers didn't end there. She was unfazed by the hostile reaction from the crowd and defiantly replied: "I own half of Southall. I'm very popular. I got voted in so at least a few people must like me."

This arrogant and offensive reaction shows how much Ealing Council officials really care about the service users...


You can email your protests directly to Cllr Jasbir Anand here at  Let's fill her inbox...

You can also email Stephen Day who is the director of Adult Social Services or even give him a call on 020 8825 9315

Martin Smith is the Chief Executive of Ealing Council and would be delighted I am sure to hear of Cllr Anand's behaviour, he has two email's with which you can contact him on  or

Virendra Sharma is the Labour MP for Ealing Southall constituency 

Steve Pound is the genial MP for the neighbouring constituency of Ealing North

Back to Home pageThe Ealing Learning Disability Partnership Board is a group charged with defending the rights of service users in the borough and ensuring they get good services.
You can fill out a contact form with your concerns about proposed closures at 

thanks x

with thanks to Ealing S.P.

The Future's Not Bright (and certainly isn't orange!) - Disabled people and carers face '£9bn welfare cut'

A disabled parking space

Disabled people will be hit with more than £9bn in welfare cuts over the next five years, a think tank has warned.

DEMOS suggests the government's plans will see 3.6m disabled people and carers lose about £9.2bn by 2015.

Read the full article from the BBC News website at

Friday, 8 October 2010

The S.A.D. Ealing Campaign Hits The Latest Edition Of The Ealing Gazette

As the campaign to defend vital services for people with disabilties in Ealing gathers momentum we are very pleased to see that our local newspaper 'The Ealing Gazette' has this week featured the campaign in it's latest edition. Thanks Ealing Gazette!

Here is a weblink direct to the online article:


Saturday 9th October
Outside 'The Oaks' shopping centre, Acton High Street. 11am - 1pm

Sunday 10th October

 Gurdwara Havelock Road Southall.12pm - 2pm

Please help save this unique and hugely needed service serving the most vulnerable people in society!

thanks x

Please Help Save This Unique and Hugely Needed Service Serving The Most Vulnerable People In Society!

A successful first petition and stall was held on Saturday 1st October in Ealing Broadway. 

Albert Dane Centre service users, staff; people from the local community,  members of The Socialist Party and Unison activists all gave up their Saturday morning to hand out leaflets and gain support.
A photographer from The Ealing Gazette also came to take a picture for the local paper.

Asian service users and staff in Southall also had a very successful campaign meeting at The Gurdwara in Southall where over 200 signatures were collected in less then an hour!

Please join in the the fight and help us leaflet and petition.

Saturday 9th October

Outside 'The Oaks' shopping centre, Acton High Street. 11am - 1pm

Sunday 10th October

 Gurdwara Havelock Road Southall.12pm - 2pm

Please help save this unique and hugely needed service serving the most vulnerable people in society!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Service User's Voice

We at S.A.D. Ealing are proud to have the involvement of the Albert Dane service users themselves.

Here they tell us a little about themselves and why the centre should not closed. It is plain that the centre has worked wonders for these people, helping them grow as individuals; and they have at the same time helped the centre grow too, but because of the crass and purely budget driven ideals of the upper management team within Adult Social Services in Ealing Council the centre could be coming close to it's demise.

Shame on them for such cold and heartless behaviour, we as taxpayers fund such projects; we could also be disabled one day. We should be asked if we want this valuable centre and resource to be abandoned and then probaly sold for profit. Meanwhile what will the service users be left with? Well, it seems NOTHING...

Perhaps Claire Hutnell (the manager who  wilfully destroyed the service users handmade banners and threatened staff with disciplinary action if they helped the service users in their protest), Cheryl Batt and Director Of Adult Social Services Stephen Day among others should bear that in mind...

email your concerns & protests directly -

or try the leader of the council Julian Bell

>> Val Garrard (Service User At The Albert Dane Centre For The Last 5 Years)
' I suffer from Agrophobia, Oesteoarthritis and Labyrinthitis. After my husband passed away I wasn't able to go out for 18 months as I am unable to go outside by myself. My confidence and self esteem plummeted.
When I first came to the centre I couldn't speak to anyone but with the perseverance, skill and goodwill of the staff and the good friends I have made, I have made great progress. I still find it very difficult to go outside. My confidence in myself however has gone up in leaps and bounds. I am now Chairperson of the User Committee, Forum Secretary and Campaign Chair.
If the planned closure of the Albert Dane Centre goes ahead I fear that I will not be able to go out again and that I will go back to the sad state I was in 5 years ago. As you can imagine that isn't a place I want to re-visit...'
Come protest this Saturday afternoon 9th October, 11am - 1pm outside The Oaks shopping centre, Acton High Street.
It is just opposite NatWest Bank.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Ealing Council Refuse To Allow Service Users To Hang THEIR Own Handmade Banners!!!

The Ealing Council Director of Adult Social Services, Stephen Day, has instructed management to remove any banners protesting against the impending closure of the Albert Dane Day Centre for disabled adults hung on the gates outside the day centre.
The service users have got together and made the banners themselves in the hope of getting help to save their centre in the current round of cuts to Social Services.
Service users now have no choice but to stand outside the centre and hold their banners up by hand. This places some of them at risk from serious injury, not to mention having to  stand or sit outside in their wheelchairs the increasingly chilly autumnal weather.
Staff at Albert Dane have been threatened with disciplinary action should they assist the users,even if this is just to ensure the safety of the service users who sufffer from physical and sensory disabilities and who could be put at serious risk on the street.

We will NOT be silenced!

Shame on Stephen Day for putting Vulnerable Adults at further risk of harm.

email him directly in protest at this disgraceful action!

Further to this a word from Val Garrard, service user at The Albert Dane Centre...



Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Campaign: An Overview

Cuts target the vulnerable in Ealing

Over 60 people gathered in the Southall Baptist church hall on the 22nd of September for the opening of a vital campaign to save the Albert Dane Centre and the Links Project.
by Neil Cafferky.
The Albert Dane provides support for adults with physical and sensory disabilities while the Links provides services for adults with mental health problems.

Service users from The Albert Dane Centre make their own voices heard.
The hall is situated opposite the Albert Dane Centre where campaign banners opposing the closure can be seen on the nearby railings. The closure of the two centres is particularly serious because they are the only such services in the borough of Ealing.
According to staff and service users the proposal that the voluntary sector should fill the gap is wholly inadequate to meet the area's needs.
Campaign launched to save the Albert Dane Centre and the Links Project at Southall Baptist church hall in Ealing, photo Ealing Socialist Party
Campaign launched to save the Albert Dane Centre and the Links Project at Southall Baptist church hall, (photo courtesy of Ealing Socialist Party.)

The closures are part of 'in year' savings by the Labour controlled council. This means they are being made in advance of cuts that will be mandated by central government in the upcoming budget.
Labour councillors were invited to the meeting to listen to the objections of staff and service users to the closures but they declined to attend or even to send apologies.

The meeting was chaired by Socialist Party member Lydia Dalton who is playing a leading role in organising the campaign to keep the services open.
Lydia, who is Unison Convener of Children's and Adult Services, contrasted the shabby treatment by the mainstream political parties of those who use and work in vital public services, with the massive bailouts of the bankers and financial institutions.


Loud applause

Campaign launched to save the Albert Dane Centre and the Links Project at Southall Baptist church hall in Ealing, photo Ealing Socialist Party
Campaign launched to save the Albert Dane Centre and the Links Project at Southall Baptist church hall, (photo courtesy of Ealing Socialist Party)

To loud applause she declared that this meeting was the beginning of a united fightback by workers, service users and their families as well as the local community to keep these essential services going.

The meeting then heard moving accounts from service users about the positive role the Albert Dane Centre had played in their lives.
Val told the meeting of how she had become isolated after her husband, her main carer, had died. She was unable to leave the house and rarely spoke to people. The Albert Dane Centre was vital in helping her to break out of her isolation and socialise on a regular basis, and she is now the chair of the service users' group.
It was clear from the meeting that the relatively large turnout - organised at short notice - was down to the efforts of Val and the other service users.
The 14 year old daughter of another service user told the meeting of the tremendously positive impact that the Albert Dane had had on the life of her mother, who has been in a wheelchair for the past two years.
Like Val, her mother had been unhappy with her isolation and her daughter was worried about the effect the closure would have on her.
Socialist Party members made points from the floor, putting forward practical suggestions to take the campaign forward as well as stressing the need for the campaign to be part of a wider anti-cuts alliance in the borough.
One service user who spoke was scathing about the three main political parties and said only the Socialist Party appeared prepared to help them.
Users from the Links, a project which helps those with mental health needs to gain gain vocational skills and get into work also spoke of the need for the units to survive.
The final decision on the closures will be made by Ealing council at a cabinet meeting on 9 November.

Mass lobby

Campaign launched to save the Albert Dane Centre and the Links Project at Southall Baptist church hall in Ealing, photo Ealing Socialist Party
Campaign launched to save the Albert Dane Centre and the Links Project at Southall Baptist church hall, (photo courtesy of Ealing Socialist Party)

Closing the meeting, Lydia Dalton proposed that there be a mass lobby of the cabinet on that day, which was accepted.
A campaign committee has now been formed which will plan further activity to build support for the lobby.

The following day Ealing council executives revealed the total contempt they hold for service users and union members.
For several days they had been attempting to remove the banners outside the Albert Dane. On Friday morning Claire Hutnell, service manager for Provider Services, removed the banners and destroyed them.
At the same time a meeting between management and service users was taking place. The destruction of the banners sparked outrage from service users and workers at the centre. Workers then bought material to make new banners and presented Ms Hutnell with a bill, informing her that the banners were not council property and she was guilty of criminal damage.
Ms Hutnell refused to pay the bill and threatened the worker who presented it to her with disciplinary action.
At this point service users walked out of the meeting in protest at the behaviour of management. The banners have gone up again since then. The battle lines are now drawn between workers and service users on one side and the Labour council and management on the other.

This is not the first time the Albert Dane has been threatened with closure. Big public campaigns have beaten the council back in the past.
With a mass campaign of users, unions and the community, this campaign can win as well.

With thanks to Neil Cafferky & Ealing Socialist Party for the use of this article.