Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Save Nelson Court

The Luton & Wayfield team is working with local and cross-party campaigners to Save Nelson Court from Conservative cuts.
You can sign the petition to protect the service here.
Whilst the Tories can overspend by £5.1m on capital and revenue budgets it is simply unacceptable they have announced the closure of this centre for the vulnerable and elderly.
It is utterly unethical
Below from the website:


At the cabinet meeting today Medway Conservative councillors were very keen to stress the benefits of privatisation, and seemed to think that the private sector could provide an identical service, with the same staff and staffing levels. As well as pay rent for the premises and make a profit.
They were also keen to stress that the 60-day consultation period would convince residents and relatives that there would be no adverse effects of privatising care. Under the new system the care homes would be allowed to take 'self funding' residents who would presumably be asked to pay a lot more than the council pays for supported care - we would like to know if the care homes would then be keen to take the challenging clients with high maintenance needs for the amount of council funding, when they could be making a nice profit instead.
Somehow this doesn't seem to be the real world!
Much was made of how residents could have more choice and more independence - given that these homes are for dementia patients, it is a bit pie in the sky to expect them to start taking responsibility for sorting out their own care and funding.
It should be remembered that many have outlived their families and friends and apart from the care home staff, who are their surrogate 'family' there is nobody to care what happens to them.
Elderly care, particularly dementia care, which is provided by Medway Council's own service centres is consistently graded as 'Excellent' by the care commission. We already have a shortage of beds in Medway for older people needing to go into care, and private providers naturally take those who are the 'easiest'. Not only do the council's own facilities provide a safety net for clients with high level needs (e.g. dementia patients using wheelchairs, or with cultural requirements such as a daily shower or special diet), but they also act as a benchmark of excellence against which prospective clients and their relatives can compare other homes.
Many elderly residents in our homes have no relatives living locally, but homes such as Nelson Court in Luton not only provide them with basic care but encourage activities and socialising, as well as a hairdresser and outings.
The council's own centres allow residents freedom of movement around the units and small 'quiet' rooms in which they can sit, or receive relatives and friends without having to use their bedrooms.
Relatives and friends are welcomed at any time and because working conditions are good there is a very low turnover of staff, so managers and carers get to know individual clients and their relatives so any problems can be dealt with quickly and amicably.

Added to this we should not forget the respite service which council homes offer, giving carers a much needed break and clients a chance to socialise. This respite also means that any medical conditions which have been overlooked are picked up and dealt with which eases the burden on home carers.
I would urge Medway Council to think very carefully before getting rid of the jewels in the crown in terms of elderly care!
To find out more, email maureen@savenelsoncourt.org.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Ed Balls MP visits Chatham

Luton & Wayfield is one of the most socially deprived wards by demographic in Medway, and it is suffering with very high levels of unemployment and especially Youth Unemployment.

We have tried to do our bit by creating a Bursary at the Shi Kon martial arts club.

We also had the pleasure of meeting Ed Balls MP in Chatham on his recent visit and were able to give him our recent leaflet. Unemployment remains a massive concern in our ward and we need a government plan that will tackle it head on.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls MP visited Medway and met young unemployed people at the Connexions centre on New Road, Chatham

His visit coincided with the latest jobless figures which showed that the number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds had broken the one-million barrier, rising to 1.016 million, according to the Office for National Statistics. The UK unemployment total rose by 129,000 in the three months to September to 2.62 million, with youth unemployment above one million.The unemployment total now stands at a level not since seen the last Conservative Government in 1994, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.3%, the highest since 1996.

Labour has set out a clear five-point plan for jobs, to help struggling families and support small businesses.

Our jobs plan includes:

1. A £2 billion tax on bank bonuses to fund 100,000 jobs for young people and build 25,000 affordable homes

2. Bringing forward long-term investment projects, like new school buildings

3. Temporarily reversing the VAT rise – a £450 boost for families with children

4. A one year cut in VAT to 5% on home improvements and repairs to help small businesses

5. A tax break for every small firm which takes on extra worker

I'm a Real Man Campaign

I'm a Real Man campaign photo

Your local Labour team is backing the Women's Aid 'Im a Real Man' campaign against domestic violence which is a silent but horrendous crime.

We took part in the campaign photo at Debenham's on Chatham highstreet and it is our hope to partner with the campaign to highlight this issue.

Violence against women and children is a global issue for everyone…
  • Around the world, at least one in three women and girls is beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime (UN Commission on the Status of Women, 2000)
  • It is estimated that worldwide, one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime (Mara Jos Alcal, United Nations Population Fund, 2005)
  • Young women are particularly vulnerable to coerced sex and are increasingly being infected with HIV and AIDS. Over half of new HIV infections worldwide are occurring among young people between the ages of 15 and 24, and more than 60% of HIV-positive youth in this age bracket are female (UNIFEM, 2007)
  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that the annual worldwide number of ‘honour killing’ victims may be as high as 5000 women (United Nations Population Fund, 2000)
  • It is estimated that between 100 and 140 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to one of the first three types of female genital mutilation (World Health Organisation, 2008)
  • The cost of treating physical health of victims of domestic violence, (including hospital, GP, ambulance, prescriptions) in England and Wales alone is £1,220,247,000, i.e. 3% of total NHS budget. The cost of treating mental disorder due to domestic violence is £176,000,000. (Walby, 2004)
  • At least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence. (Department of Health, 2002)
  • One incident is reported to the police every minute. (Stanko, 2000)
  • 124,895 women and 54, 370 children used Women's Aid refuge and outreach services in 2009-2010 (Women's Aid Annual Survey)

The 'Real Man' Campaign asks both men and women to support Women's Aid's work and ACT to end domestic and sexual violence

All Saints Christmas Fete

Chatham Labour Councillors getting an update on the Magpie Tavern, Chatham

Luton & Wayfield Ward Councillor's attended the All Saint's Residents Fete on Saturday where we received an update on the Magpie Centre which we are supporting via our Ward Improvement Funds.

The centre will be an excellent resource that will allow outreach into the community which does have significant issues.

The centre will have a specialist teaching room and the downstairs will be a Cafe which will be open to all.

Cllr Godwin also enjoyed the flower displays:

Monday, 14 November 2011

Well done Shi Kon

Copyright: KM Group.

Shi-Kon are going from strength to strength.

Pupils from a dozen primary schools have shown their skills on the mat at Riverside Primary School.

The event was managed by our very own Shi Kon in Luton.

Well done to Hoo St Werburgh School for winning.

Dispersal Zone Success

All thee Luton & Wayfield Councillor's attend the Luton PACT meeting last week and it was clear from that meeting that residents in the ward want to see a reduction in the level of anti-social behaviour; both from youths on the streets to noisy and incosiderate neighbours.

On the doorstep it is close to the number one issue raised by residents and combating anti-social behaviour must continue to be a focus for Police.

The Luton team supported the Dispersal Zone surrounding Magpie Hall Road and are pleased that the number of reported incidents, logged officially by the Police, has seen a welcome reduction.

Where youth's have been told to disperse many have done so.

The journalist in this case has used the evidence of one store holder on Luton Road, which is a natural thoroughfare, to make a judgement not born out by statistical or empirical evidence. It is simply not accurate to state that the community oppose Dispersal Zones by inference, or otherwise.

It is also incorrect to say the zone has not been advertised. The zones have been noted in several articles, including incidently in the Medway Messenger, and the Police have tried to make local business aware through direct contact with youths and business impacted by those causing problems.

The PACT meeting we attended was full because residents further up Luton Road are observing the same problems that were noted on Magpie Hall Road many months ago. Residents have had enough and support the zone.

Luton Road does have its problems which is why local Councillors have supported the Disperzal Zone and are working hard to see it expanded.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Youth Voice must be heard

Luton & Wayfield Councillor Tristan Osborne has been working with Kent Young Labour to engage young people into Politics.

It is crucial that all political groups accomodate and support younger campaigners because they will be the future for the towns (or city). There are huge numbers of young people who are interested in politics but feel they are not engaged by the political parties.

Rory Weal, conference star, has been supporting Medway Labour in promoting youth engagement locally and we are seeing increasing numbers of young people getting involved.

In the local elections we had a candidate under 35 in every target seat for Medway.

If you want to get involved in Kent / Medway Young Labour please take a look at their facebook page.

Saturday, 5 November 2011