Ann McFadden (pictured above), who has multiple sclerosis, is facing having an important social outlet removed under Bolton Council’s plans to raise its eligibility threshold from moderate to substantial.
McFadden, 49, who uses a wheelchair, has been assessed as requiring substantial support for her home care needs, which include toileting, washing and dressing.
While these will be safe under the council’s plans, she is also assessed as moderate for social needs and faces losing a befriending service, which she receives every Wednesday for four hours.
The service allows her to live as normal a life as possible by taking her to the shops, to the cinema or just out into the country, she said.
McFadden said she regarded the service as a lifeline and has come to regard her befriender, Sue, as a friend.
She says: “It’s an essential service for me as everybody else I have contact with is out during the day and the kids are out at school. It’s trying to keep normal.”
Without it she thinks she will be unable to get out and fears for the future with the increased stress on her family: “You will start getting depressed and reclusive and it takes away your confidence. It takes away your being a normal person.”
The council is aiming to raise £750,000 a year by increasing its threshold, which will affect 773 users who currently have moderate needs. It is in the middle of a 12-week consultation period and plans to take a final decision in November.
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