by Johnny Clark
When I trained as a social worker my first placement was the old Barrhead Centre in Carlibar Park. I dreaded going there but loved every minute of my time there. The users of the centre were very warm and inviting to me, an outsider. Their difficulties included Down’s Syndrome, quadriplegia and cerebral palsy, but they were far from a group to be pitied. They were vulnerable, certainly, but they also felt secure in their Centre.
When it became clear that the Centre was closing, it fell to me to conduct a consultation of the group to ensure they got the new centre they needed. The group and their families were extremely anxious at this time but they were galvanised as a group by focussing on their new centre designed by them, purpose built with their specific needs in mind.
Ten years on, this new centre is under threat, with promised changes to the services on offer in the name of finding savings. This is a cruel blow to not only the users but their families and the surrounding communities it serves. The uncertainty is causing great anxiety among the users themselves except this time the local authority are putting money at the centre of their considerations instead of people.
There is no suitable alternative on offer this time. Most families I know have a member who is disabled. We ourselves are only an accident or disease away from disability. Our children and grandchildren to be have a 1 in 3 chance of disability in their lifetime. The savings made are far outweighed by the benefits to families facing these difficulties daily and with the population ageing it makes no sense to disrupt this resource which helps to define us as a caring community.
As part of the Scottish Greens’ commitment to a caring Scotland, we believe that all people should have access to the best, most localised healthcare possible – Scotland Can care for all our people, read more about how here.