"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

Day Centres

Is #ChloeSmithMP Taking The Piss?


"We've discovered rubbing these chocolates all over your skin then seven pairs of thermals will work wonders. Just don't eat the chocs..they're fattening."

Well, you judge for yourselves!

Ms.Smith has been up at Asda on the Norwich ring road today launching her new Warm Up For Winter campaign, which offers advice to people on how best to fight off the cold in the coming months and ‘potentially save lives’.

Obviously she regards the days ‘campaigning’ as a bit of a blinder…

“It was really successful, and a lot of people were extremely interested in the information we had available and I was glad they found it helpful.

It was also positive to work alongside the council and have Age UK provide literature.

No one should face the choice between food and fuel. Too many of the elderly and vulnerable in our community suffer in the cold weather. This winter, it does not have to be that way.

If you have any questions about the help available to the elderly or vulnerable during the winter, please do come and see me at the surgery. I will have information on the financial assistance available as well as lots of practical and simple tips for keeping warm.”

Now we’re sure many of you will want to take her up on her piss-taking offer and get her to explain how exactly Tory cuts will reduce the annual mortality rate of elderly people who die of cold and lack of food during winter. This currently stands at around 25,000 people in the UK so we’re really interested in what this advice she’s offering could possibly be! Fifty push ups in the garden or chucking another family photo album on the hearth perhaps?

Here’s a tip …Jog on Chloe! (Now there’s an idea…)

Her next surgery will be at St George’s Church on Sprowston Road on December 4 at 11.30am.

See you there! 



NCODP response to Norfolk County Council Consultation

NCODP response to Norfolk County Council ‘Big Conversation’ Consultation

You can read more about NCODP’s Campaign Against the Cuts at www.campaignagainstcuts.org.uk

Another Example Of The Lies That are ‘Consultations’….

…they are not worth the paper they are written on…

According to FBU members who we have engaged with, 95% of public opinion in said ‘consultation’ we’re against the proposed changes.

How then does this give the Fire Brigade a mandate to carry on regardless unless they had already decided to go ahead prior to opening it up to the public.

Just like the closures of day care centres for the elderly and the loss of jobs at Connexions.

It’s interesting what you find when you google Consultations Sham

Norwich fire jobs set to go

Fire chiefs are to press ahead with plans to reduce cover at the proposed new Carrow station, in Norwich, with the loss of 24 jobs, despite backing away from across the board cuts in rural areas.

Norfolk Fire Service wants to save £1.5m as part of its new draft safety plan aimed at modernising the service, which it hoped would boost cover in rural areas by introducing a new specialist appliances capable of dealing with off road crashes and natural emergencies such as flooding.

Plans also include scrapping or relaxing the response times for second appliances to non-emergency call-outs, such as small rubbish fires, and minor road accidents, and changing shift patterns to a “five watch” system, following the lead of Greater Manchester, which aims to match cover to actual demand rather than having firefighters sitting around.

But after a major 12-week consultation plans, which saw the biggest ever response, bosses will press ahead with plans to reduce the number of proposed crews at the new Carrow station in Trowse from five to four.

However, plans to cut 13 retained posts at Gorleston are being put on hold while further studies of its impact are carried out, though a full time crew will still be transferred to the town from Great Yarmouth.

And instead of axing two posts each at six other stations – Diss, Cromer, Sandringham, Fakenham, Wymondham and Dereham – it will look at the levels of cover on a case-by-case basis.

The service is also looking at its options in West Norfolk and plans for an additional “fire service delivery point” at King’s Lynn if it can find the money, which has sparked questions that it may have to scale back from building a new purpose-built station costing up to £2m.

Fire service officials said they were pleased with the response to the consultation and had taken on board some of the key issues raised.

But union leaders feared the moves were nothing more than a stay of execution for the service.

Jamie Wyatt, Brigade secretary at Norfolk FBU, said the consultation process had been a sham and had only been opened up after pressure from the union.

“The only reason they have done this is so that they can make cuts in the number of firefighters,” My Wyatt said. “It’s about saving money and not the safety of people in Norfolk.”

Neil Harvey, spokesman for Norfolk Retained Firefighters Union committee, said he was very disappointed about the plans.

“From what I have seen the plans at Gorleston have simply been put on hold,” Mr Harvey said. “At some point in the future they will simply come back and there will be no way for the public to challenge that.”

The wide-ranging consultation, the most comprehensive ever carried out by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Authority, included 13 public events, attended by 182 people, and more than 70 meetings with staff and unions.

More than 300 formal responses were received and the feedback has helped shape a report due before the Fire and Rescue Overview and Scrutiny Panel next week Tuesday .

Harry Humphrey, cabinet member for fire and community protection at Norfolk County Council, said: “This was the most comprehensive consultation the fire and rescue authority has ever carried out, and has also been its most successful in terms of the level of responses received. It’s been extremely valuable for us to gain a better understanding of the views of many people including members of the public and fire service staff and I would like to thank all those who responded. Our priority, as always, is making our very safe county even safer.”

Nigel Williams, chief fire officer for Norfolk, said safety was at the heart of everything the service did and that would not change.

“I believe the proposals within this report will help us continue to move in the right direction,” Mr Williams said.


Councillors to press ahead with Norwich day centre closures

Campaigners fighting to keep open two day centres in Norwich appear to have lost their battle as county councillors are set to press ahead with controversial closure plans.

Norfolk County Council today confirmed it was going to set up a new day services partnership in city to replace the Silver Rooms and the Essex Rooms.

The new scheme is set to be approved by members of the adult social services overview and scrutiny panel next Wednesday and would involve a partnership with Age Concern Norwich and Norwich City Council to look at providing alternatives to the day centres.

Under the plans, the partnership will identify new locations for day care services to replace the two centres which are likely to be based in sheltered housing and housing with care schemes.

Both centres will remain open while suitable alternatives are created.

County Hall said the plans which followed a consultation would allow friendship groups to stay together and offer a wider range of facilities and activities. Staff will continue to provide the same high quality care, but in more suitable accommodation and the services would also be available closer to many people’s homes.

David Harwood, cabinet member for adult social services, said: “We are committed to improving day services and widening the choice that people have, but we must make the best use of the council’s resources in tough financial times. The consultation on the Essex and Silver Rooms showed us that what mattered to people was friendship, inclusion and care – not the buildings themselves.

“The new proposals allow us to keep to our policy of specialising council services for dementia and re-ablement, but also develop better replacement services in collaboration with our partners.

Norwich South MP Simon Wright said he was seeking an urgent meeting with both Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council about the plans.

“I’m very disappointed if these day centres are to close. I felt very strongly that they should be retained and invested in,” Mr Wright said. “We have got a situation where we do have an ageing population where demand for these sorts of services is increasing in the future to give older people a really good social environment.

“What I think is so awful in this process is that I’m not convinced that alternative provision has been identified early enough in the process.”

Next week’s meeting, which will take place at 10am in the Edwards Room, at County Hall, members will also be updated with a report on work being carried out to safeguard vulnerable adults in Norfolk and a review of day activities for people with learning difficulties.


Pensioners Protest Against Day Centre Closure Plans

Pensioners fighting plans to save two day centres from the axe staged a protest in Norwich city centre yesterday.

The clock is ticking on a crunch decision, which could see the Essex and Silver Rooms in Norwich closed, but the elderly people who use them are not prepared to give up without a fight.

They demonstrated on the steps of City Hall yesterday to show Norfolk County Council how vital the centres are to their lives – and to gather more signatures to add to a petition already signed by thousands of supporters.

Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council revealed last year that it wanted to close the county council-run centres because of a massive shake-up in the way care is provided.

The county council says within 15 years there will be a 62pc increase in the number of people in Norfolk with dementia, rising from 12,714 in 2008 to 20,621 by 2025.

They say that means they have to change their focus on tackling the surge in dementia and the care homes and day services it runs will change as a result.

Council bosses say the Essex and Silver Rooms are not suitable to be converted to that use so have proposed their closure – to the fury of pensioners who use them.

One of the protesting pensioners at yesterday’s demonstration was Greta Holmes, 79, from Magdalen Road, who first started attending the Silver Rooms with her husband Leslie about eight years ago.

She said: “I took my husband there and he had Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. He loved it there. After he died I didn’t think I could face going back, but the first thing they said when I got there was that if I needed to cry that was okay.

“The staff there were wonderful to me and I have such good memories of how my husband enjoyed it there. It is a place which has become like a memorial to him for me. It means so much to me. He was a wonderful man and a wonderful father.”

The pensioners were at City Hall because the county council was holding a drop-in session there about the development of a housing and community support strategy.

Although that strategy is not part of the planned shake-up which could see the day centres closed, the pensioners wanted to send a message to the county council’s cabinet, which will make a decision in June.

Harold Bodmer, director of Norfolk Adult Social Services, said: “Now that our consultation has finished, the feedback we have received will be analysed by an independent marketing and research company.

“We will take careful account of what’s been said and feed people’s views into our detailed proposals, which will go to Cabinet for a final decision in June.”


Pensioners Day Centres To Face Closure?

Time running out for comments on day centre closure plan

Pensioners battling to stop their day centres from closing have urged people to make their voices heard – as the clock ticks down on the end of consultation.

Norfolk people have one week left to give their views on proposals for the Essex Rooms, Silver Rooms and the two social services days at Hempnall Mill.

Norfolk County Council revealed last year that it was proposing to close the council-run centres as part of a switch to focusing day services for people with dementia and re-ablement needs.

That sparked outrage from pensioners who use the day centres, along with their families, who say the centres are a lifeline for the people who use them.

Pensioners collected petitions and organised public meetings to try to keep the centres open, while the county council launched a consultation over the proposals in the middle of December.

Council chiefs said they wanted to hear more about the people who use the centres ahead of a final decision which is due on June 14, and say people will be offered an alternative service.

People have until next Monday to have their say.

David Harwood, cabinet member for adult social services at Norfolk County Council, said: “Having a range of day opportunities which suit all needs and tastes is important because it helps people to live independently in their own homes for longer.

“We recognise that traditional day centres are still a much-needed service, but also realise that we will be expected to do more with less money – and therefore we must focus our in-house services on those with the greatest need.

“It’s important to stress that whatever the outcome, no-one will be left without a service. Everyone who is currently attends the Essex Rooms, Silver Rooms or the two social services days at Hempnall Mill will be offered a replacement service, although it may not be at the day centre that they are using at the moment. Groups of friends will be kept together, where possible.”

But Hilda Bullen, 81, who uses the Silver Rooms, said: “We still want people to let the council know that we don’t want the centres to close. There’s not long left for the consultation now so we have to stay on the ball.”

The pensioners are planning an open meeting at the Silver Rooms on Thursday , from 2pm until 4pm, when people are invited to join them to talk about the future of the centre.

To request a paper copy of the county council’s consultation, call 0344 800 8020, visit http://www.YourNorfolkYourSay.org or e-mail dayservicesconsultation@norfolk.gov.uk