Political rhetoric and real lives

The Aldingbourne Trust has a long history of supporting people with learning disabilities. Over the years we have seen people make enormous progress in employment, housing, education, leisure and relationships.

Louise Goldsmith refers to emotion in the debate over cuts to funding. If emotion means people feel strongly about the most vulnerable in our society facing prejudice, dependency and isolation, then I should hope emotion is part of the mix.

The recently published LiNK report on the impact of the cuts was not surprising. Other authorities across the country have made initial savings but there is evidence of people’s mental health and wellbeing deteriorating and care costs being shunted around from social care to health to the criminal justice system.

The concern of most groups who work with the elderly and disabled is that because of their extra needs they may need some help, just to do some of the things the rest of us take for granted.

Most people with learning disabilities want to work, have somewhere decent to live and to feel safe.

Peter Adams’ presentation, which was refused a screening on Friday, highlights the reality of people’s lives as opposed to the rhetoric from local and national government: local government funding has been cut, the national government says there is no need for local government to make cuts to front line services. Who are we to believe and where does this leave our communities?

We are urged to take control of our local communities, to engage with decision-making and to do more for ourselves.

The motion which was agreed by the Conservative councillors on Friday ‘to provide yet more focused and effective continuing care for those in greatest need of community support’ needs a great deal of fleshing out and the opportunity for people to be engaged and listened to when spending decisions are being made.


Managing director, The Aldingbourne Trust - Support Change, Live Life, Change Lives, Blackmill Lane, Norton, Chichester