Ignore the myths: the South needs funding

I was concerned to see the article regarding more funds being
diverted away from the South (News, page 3, 3 May).

Despite popular assumptions about the South East, many older
people in this region live in poverty, often reliant on
means-tested benefits. Looking at average wealth and prosperity
disguises the many pockets of deprivation in this region.

If you are poor and live in this region you are more likely to
feel isolated, and less likely to have support networks, which are
more readily available in areas where poverty and deprivation are
recognised and addressed.

We would not wish to jump on the North versus South bandwagon,
but would ask that those responsible for distributing government
funds look fairly and in detail at the needs of all communities,
wherever they are situated.

Falling into the trap that assumes everyone in the South East is
either self-reliant or well provided for is blinkered and
unrealistic. Older people in particular are disadvantaged by such

Helen Dickens
Deputy director
Age Concern


Disabled people have their patience tested

Do shopping centre managers and Clair Burton, product manager
AIMS Disability Consultancy, really think some form of test is
appropriate for disabled people out shopping (News, page 6, 3

I find it incomprehensible that disabled people, who already
face enough barriers to full participation in society, should be
confronted by the prospect of yet another one in the form of a
“scooter test”.

Perhaps a more acceptable solution is to restrict the speed a
scooter is able to travel. How about proposing that non-disabled
shoppers take a test before being allowed to take control of a
supermarket shopping trolley? After all, I have been hit several
times by these menaces of the aisle.

Or maybe a test would be appropriate for people who use
umbrellas on our high streets. Who hasn’t had to dodge out of the
way of these dangers to the health, safety and eyesight of those of
us who do not use umbrellas? I would suggest that instead of
looking into ways of further eroding the rights of disabled people,
they concentrate on making their centres and the shops within them
more accessible. This means looking beyond the restrictions imposed
by the built environment and at the restrictions imposed by our way
of thinking.

Fred Postles
Community development worker
Derbyshire Coalition for Inclusive Living


ASW’s role is an independent one

We have noticed in Community Care over the past few weeks a
discussion of the appropriateness of medical professionals
fulfilling the approved social worker role.

In response to the letter from Alwyn D’Costa (10 May), we would
like to point out that the role of the ASW is not one of advocate,
and never has been. It seems to us that many people labour under
that misconception.

The role of the ASW is to provide a non- medical or holistic
perspective that is independent of the two medical recommendations.
It seems incongruous to us that CPNs with a training background in
medicine should be considered for this role, not least because the
role may require them to challenge the authority and decisions of
their senior medical colleagues.

Jo Cormack, Isabel Rothery and Keith Purkiss
Approved social workers
St Albans


Caring for survivors needs wider services

We have been trying to support adult survivors of historical
childhood abuse for the past 13 years (“Prisoner of the past”, 19

We are never short of work and receive many referrals from
professional agencies throughout Greater Manchester and the North
West, but still no one, especially those who have the power to
speak out for organisations such as ours, will recognise the
problem. Consequently, there is a lack of organisation and funding
to help us deal with it.

No one is prepared to channel any funds to our project to help
us support survivors -Êyet the funding is often there via the
health authorities, local government and so on for others to care
for survivors when they have a psychiatric label put on them.
Ironically, when the subject of their childhood is raised,
Childhood Connections gets the call to see if we can help them.

Historical child abuse has to be recognised for the
all-consuming devastation that can lead to drug and alcohol abuse,
crime, relationship problems, being unable to function well in
normal daily life, unable to hold down a job, eating disorders,
depression, and frequent suicide attempts.

Everyone who tries to help adult survivors should be recognised
for their dedication to those who need it most.

Carol Rosser
Hilda Horton
Co-directors, Childhood Connections


Respite for people with serious illnesses

Community Care readers may not be aware of a new charity – the
Willow Foundation -dedicated to giving “Special Days” to seriously
ill young adults aged between 16 and 40.

The Willow Foundation is a lasting memorial to my daughter,
Anna, who died from a rare form of cancer in December 1998, shortly
before her 32nd birthday. After Anna’s death, my wife and I
approached hospitals and hospices to see what would be best for
other young adults dealing with long-term illness.

We were told that although the medical profession could provide
the diagnosis and the treatment, they could not provide the quality
of life, so important to those in the prime of their life, trying
to cope with life-threatening illness.

The Willow Foundation is committed to making a real difference
to the lives of young adults living with cancer and other serious

Our special days hope to offer a break from the distressing
routine of illness and treatment and give them – and their families
– an escape from the day-to-day problems that long-term illness
brings with it.

I would urge any social or care worker who knows of someone who
could benefit from a Willow Foundation special day to get in touch.
The special day could feature treatment by a beauty therapist; it
could be a day at a health farm; a visit to a pop concert or
football match; a night at the theatre or even a much longed-for
weekend break – any request, however imaginative, would be

Bob Wilson

The William Trust can be contacted on 01707 259777

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