Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/704/13712
Salford campaign saves day care centres
After several weeks of protest, two adult day care centres in Salford have been reprieved from closure by the council for 12 months. Humphrey Booth in Ordsall and Craig Hall in Irlam provide day care services to elderly people and adults with learning difficulties. Both faced closure through funding cuts by the Labour-run local authority. Steve North, branch secretary of Salford Unison and Socialist Party member explains.
Before Christmas, Salford council announced proposals to close at least two day care centres in Salford. It would have meant the loss of at least 40 jobs and the removal of the service for at least 200 service users.
The Unison branch took the position that we were opposed to this, not only because it was our members' jobs but also because we felt it was a brutal and unnecessary cut that needed to be opposed. We were contacted by members of the community who were equally outraged at the proposals.
We convened two community meetings, and one large meeting which attracted around 150 people. At that meeting we agreed a campaign strategy which included letters of protest to councillor Wharmisham, who is the lead member for Adult Services, and to local ward councillors. We also agreed a series of protests outside council meetings.
On Friday 3 February a number of protesters approached councillor Wharmisham at his surgery in the Langworthy ward, and demanded he rethink the proposals because of the impact they would have on vulnerable people in Salford.
Later that day, as branch secretary of the Unison branch that has led this campaign, I received a statement from councillor Wharmisham that contained a statement from council leader John Merry which categorically states "we will not be proceeding with the changes in 2012/13."
Moreover, before "any further consideration is given to this matter", four points must be "concluded" including making sure need can still be met and considering the views expressed in the consultation.
The council has reversed its position because of the strength of the campaign. There are still no long-term guarantees for these centres. We will continue to fight to ensure the future of these services and the jobs of the people who work in them are secured. The message to any other campaign is: It's always worth fighting, and if we fight we can win!
In The Socialist 8 February 2012:
Socialist Party NHS campaigning
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
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