Friday, 12 December 2014

10th Dec: SAVE Carlton Road Day Service For Learning Disabled Adults

Supporters Protest Against Closure Plans

The chilly evening of Wednesday 10th December marked the point that users, parents, carers, staff and supporters of the Carlton Road Day Service for profoundly learning disabled adults fought back against Ealing Council's cruel plan to close the centre by May 2015.

A large group of supporters of the service joined those fighting against the closure of the Solace Mental Health Drop in Centre, another victim of this years round of cuts in Ealing (

Parents, users, carers, staff and our many supporters handed out several hundred leaflets and gained a vast amount of signatures on the Save Carlton Road Petition. The campaigners trying to save the much needed day service for those with profound and multiple learning disabilities remarked that support from people on the street was much higher than was expected, reflecting the need for such a valuable service catering for the needs of this highly vulnerable group of users and their families.

"If Ealing does close this day service, my son; who is so very disabled, well I fear for his future. I've cared for him daily for his whole life, but I am getting older, without the respite I get when he goes to Carlton Road I may become ill or worse - and then what? Carlton Road enables me to continue my role as his main carer and gives him a life. Without it we are sunk..." Carlton Road Parent

Following the demonstration the group of supporters trooped into the Town Hall to attend the Council's Health and Adult Social Services Scrutiny Panel meeting. The panel, consisting of a selection of elected councillors and appointees have the job of scrutinising council decisions in relation to Health and Social Services made on behalf of Ealing residents. Supporters (including users, parents and supporters) made some fine and intelligent speeches supporting the continuation of the council services provided to users of Carlton Road Day Service, Solace and the Elm and Sycamore Lodge Dementia care day services (also planned to close in the recent cuts round).

Councillors asked questions to the officers of Ealing Social Services, Stephen Day, Director of Adults Services and Cheryl Batt, Service Manger for. Learning Disability Services amongst others were there to  provide the answers to the panel.

'The respite it provides families enables them to care themselves (at no charge) for their children for better and for longer. If it is removed it becomes much more likely that illness and stress will render them unable to continue and at a much higher cost to the taxpayer should the Carlton Road user have to taken from the family home and placed in residential care - charges for residential units can be as high as £2000 per week or more.'

It was clear that whilst they both attempted to provide comprehensive answers to questions asked, they were still trying to find alternative services themselves in Ealing to re - provide a suitable day service for Ealing's most vulnerable residents. What little day care services there are in Ealing for profoundly learning disabled adults are already heavily over subscribed and much more expensive than the £86 per day that Carlton Road costs each user from their personal budget. One of the few day services up and running, but not within Ealing's boundaries charges £130 per day but does not undertake the necessary personal care that Carlton Road delivers daily in a dignified and appropriate fashion and does not have the equipment (hoists etc) on site.

One of the panels councillors were particularly concerned for the needs of this vulnerable group of disabled adults as he has caring responsibilities for a disabled child. One councillor was brought to tears after hearing the testimony of parents and carers regarding the proposed closure plans.

Many councillors thought that the service could continue to exist, possibly in a different building. It was stated by Cllr Andrew Steed (Lib - Dem: Southfield, the ward encompassing Carlton Road itself), that the site - worth several million pounds had been sold already for a large sum.

Surely if Ealing Council has already benefited from the sale and ultimate disposal of the site to the tune of several million then the small saving slated by closure is offset (the saving will be £180k).

Two councillors on the panel remarked that ultimately it will be financial folly to abandon the users of Carlton Road. The respite it provides families enables them to care themselves (at no charge) for their children for better and for longer. If it is removed it becomes much more likely that illness and stress will render them unable to continue and at a much higher cost to the taxpayer should the Carlton Road user have to taken from the family home and placed in residential care - charges for residential units can be as high as £2000 per week or more.

So where's the sense in that?



Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Help SAVE the vulnerable!
Help SAVE Carlton Day Service for profoundly disabled adults

PLEASE COME, please SHARE & like on facebook

Weds 10th Dec 2014 from 5.30.


Public demonstration & lobby of the Ealing Scrutiny Committee.

Ealing Town Hall W5 2BY from 5.30,-0.307565,16z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xb336714d7ab4f267


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

More On The Plan To CLOSE Carlton Road Day Service

Ealing Council To Shut Day Centre by May 2015

What will happen to Ealing's most vulnerable?

Carlton Road Day Centre is a day service located in Carlton Road (W4 5DY), on the borders of Acton and Chiswick.
It serves more than 30 users with profound and multiple learning disabilities and a complex diagnosis (many who also have epilepsy and are wheelchair users with little or no mobility) with a full day care service, giving them the chance to undertake a variety of therapeutic and physical activities as well as providing a suitable space to socialise and spend time with friends and peers outside of the home environment.
It also allows the phenomenally hard working parents & carers a little time (and respite) from the rigours of day to day caring for a learning and physically disabled son or daughter, thereby preserving their health and wellbeing and allowing them as parents to care for their offspring for longer and for the better in the long term; (thereby saving the state the expense).
Carlton Road provides therapies such as Physiotherapy, Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance Therapy as well as daily physio programs specifically designed for each user and using the specialised equipment the building houses. It works alongside the excellent PACE charity that provides twice weekly specialised disability sports sessions within the centre specially designed for those with a profound learning disability.
As the users are so very disabled, it is fully fitted out with hoists and changing areas for suitable and dignified toileting which is undertaken by an experienced, longstanding and professional staff team, all who are now facing redundancy. The staff team also have strong advocacy skills for their users and review, report and monitor users regularly and liase with health teams and families to ensure the users are given the best chances in life and retain their dignity and independence at all times.
Ealing Council, facing a huge budget cut from central government has decided that the centre will close in May 2015, before which each user will be re - assessed and parents & carers handed an individual budget to themselves provide for their son or daughters care. Parents & carers will be 'signposted' towards what Ealing Council regards as suitable alternatives to the Carlton Road day service. These services are mainly no existent within the borough for people of such a profound level of disability. It is all very rushed and poorly thought out.
Hindsight clearly shows through feedback from previous closures (i.e. Stirling Road Day Service in 2013) that parents and carers strongly feel the alternative services the council opted for are poorly provided and unsuitable; many former users from Stirling Road are unhappy and now receive poor quality and/or unsuitable day care services and also receive less time in day care.
The only conclusion is that Ealing Council is abandoning the users of Carlton Road, the most vulnerable people in our borough to save money - a one off saving of £180 K will be saved by axing the 17 staff and the sale of the site to a suitable developer will be worth several million.
If Ealing Council were a little more creative in their thinking they could provide a suitable alternative building for this group of users (and staff) to continue the service, perhaps tied in with one of the many new developments in the borough and pride itself on the fact that they would be willing to go 'the extra mile' for those most in need.
Are Ealing's most vulnerable individuals to be sacrificed because of the Council officers lack of creative thinking? The answer so far seems to be yes...

November 11th 2014:

Ealing Council Announces Enormous Council Service Cuts For This Year

Day Services To Go

Services affected:

Carlton Road Day Centre (Profound Learning Disability Day Service)

Planned to close May 2015

Elm Lodge/Sycamore Lodge (Dementia Day Services)

Planned to close and users to use another centre

Solace (daily out-of-hours drop-in centre for adults with mental illness) to close