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Age UK Norfolk’s Cut Cake Not Care campaign – Helen McDermott interviews (Part 1)

My name’s Joan Denton. Oh hello. Now, do you have any services at
all that Age UK offer you? We take advice from them certainly, because
I’m a Trustee of a daycare centre in Briston and we’ve had lots of advice from them. Well obviously then this is something very
important to you because as a daycare centre this is one of the services that obviously
they’re looking at and that could be under threat, so how important is it for you today
to come along to support this campaign? Very important indeed. We’ve already lost
25% of our funding in our service agreement for this year, and we’ve been warned that
we’re probably going to lose another 25% come next March. So how will this affect you? It will probably mean that we’ll have to close
down. And that means that people that come there
of course are going to have nowhere to go. Absolutely right, nowhere at all. Now there
is a care centre probably about 15 miles away from us, which would mean that the Social
Services would have to arrange for them to be transported if they have need of daycare. Indeed. So obviously for you, getting everyone
on board this is so important. It is indeed. Very important, yes. Lovely, well thank you very much. You’re welcome. Hello, could I have your name? I’m Rachel – I work for Age UK Norwich. OK, well in that case what do you do for Age
UK? I’m an admin assistant at the Welfare Rights
Department. So we’re here today obviously, we don’t know
what’s going to happen, we’ve got till February, hopefully we will be finding out in February.
What sort of things do you think will affect people if there are these huge cuts? Well obviously if there’s any cuts in services
that’s going to affect people. And anything in particular, any areas in particular? I think all the areas are quite important. I know you work for Age UK, but do you have
anyone at home that you care for, or you know people? I do know someone yes, who’s virtually housebound
and she doesn’t actually fall into Norwich’s area but I know she’s had a lot of help from
another Age UK. And what would happen to someone like her
if there were cuts brought in, if maybe people couldn’t go and visit her etc? I think she’d feel more isolated. A lot of
the services she had probably would be available elsewhere but she feels comfortable with Age
UK. She feels it’s a trustworthy organisation and she feels happier taking services from
them than she would perhaps from a body like Social Services. It’s somewhere for her to go. Yes, and the family. Lovely, thank you. Hello, your name please. I’m Sheena MacDonald and I’m the Befriending
Officer at Age UK Norwich. As you said, you offer a befriending service,
so this presumably, if there are these cuts, would have a huge knock-on effect? It would. I’m having people phoning me up
saying very, very worried about the cuts, what cuts are going to happen and things like
that, and I’m trying to reassure them that the government are promising not to cut the
actual services, which we hope is going to be the case, but there’s also the concern
of cuts to supporting places like Age UK and supporting the befriending service and all
the other services that we run. If we have staff cuts then obviously these services aren’t
going to continue and it’s going to be a huge difference to the people of Norwich, the older
people. We’re already very busy so staff cuts are going to make that very much more difficult,
and we really need to ensure that that doesn’t happen and the services continue and continue
to expand. OK, and who are you? Joy Rayner – I’m Secretary of the Norwich
& District Branch of Parkinson UK. OK, so obviously today we’re talking about
cuts, we don’t know what lies ahead until February, and obviously everyone is worried
about their own problems. How would it affect someone like you if there is a huge cut? Your
service, I should say. Our big concern is if the therapist services
are cut and the neurological nurses, because they offer so much support for people with
Parkinson’s. If somebody with Parkinson’s has problems with their medication, they can
go along, they can contact the neurological nurses and they will help. Because the GPs
haven’t got the breadth of knowledge to be able to cope with those problems, and also
the physiotherapy and the speech therapy and occupational therapists – they’re essential
for people with Parkinson’s to keep them active and to keep their voices strong. And if they
were cut it would mean that they wouldn’t have that support and they’re more likely
to end up in hospital which would mean extra funding in the hospitals, plus if the neurological
nurses were cut it would mean that they would end up with longer stays in hospital because
the neurological nurses support them and make sure that they get their medication on time,
and that is very important. Can you just tell me your name please? Malcolm Raymond. Malcolm, you have Parkinson’s? Yes. So we’re talking today about cuts. Of course,
nobody wants anything cut but we all know that money has to be saved in some areas.
But what difference would this make to your life? One of the things that you find is that it’s
more difficult to string sentences together. You rely on somebody who’s very close to you
to care and arrange things. That is sort of potentially done in the family unit and I’m
not quite sure yet where it’s going to lead in terms of having sort of corporate body
providing a service. I tend to be a look after yourself sort of person. I know it’s very difficult for you – we’ve
just been talking to someone from the Parkinson’s Society and of course what they were saying
was without this sort of care around for people, people might end up in hospital, which in
its way then of course would be more expensive. Yes, it’s a bit like an insurance policy.
Again, we’re taking the personal responsibility and look at it, we took medical insurance
a lot of years ago and still roll that through. We don’t call on it very much because there
are better ways of dealing with it. Yes, it’s amazing how badly one gets. And nobody really knows what’s ahead? No-one
can guarantee? No, you can feel that the thing is gradually
falling apart, but it’s quite nice to develop a relationship with the medical people and
the pills that help to maintain a bit of a joy in between the head and the body. And of course someone who understands what
you’re going through. Yes, you need to select your partner early
in life very well. It’s a very great help to me. Lovely, thank you very much. Hello, can I just have your name please. Val. So why have you come along here today? I always support [Age UK] – I go to their
little meetings you know, and they have these projects on for older people and you learn
a lot and you can pass on that information to other people – that’s what I like about
it. So what sort of things? Have you used any
of their services at all? In a way I have, because people come to me
(I’m in sheltered housing) and they do come to me at times and ask questions, because
I’m also a representative on the sheltered housing forum, and they ask for information
so I just say, ‘Go to [Age UK], they will help’. Or if I get leaflets I give them out
to people who I think will find them useful. And certainly one of the things that could
be under threat is sheltered housing. What sort of people do you have there? You obviously
have a variety of people. We have a variety of ages from 60 right up
to 92 and most of them are quite mobile. One of my neighbours, she’s 89 now, I used to
take her out and she doesn’t want to go out any more, she’s frightened to go out. You
know, we look after one another but we are concerned about the changes that are likely
to happen. YOu lose your Scheme Manager, you lose that contact with them. I mean, they’ve
got so much admin to do now and they’re wanting the Scheme Managers now to take on more than
one scheme, so who’s going to do all the admin and just visit the people who really need
a visit so the rest of us, we might as well be in good neighbour schemes you know, we
do like that contact. Thank you. And what’s your name? My name is Tony Serne. And you’re tucking into a piece of cake there. I am indeed – it looks delicious. It does look very nice – leave me some , won’t
you! Now we’re talking about cuts – of course we
don’t know what cuts they’re going to be, but what sorts of things are you concerned
about? Well I’m Chairman of Briston Care Centre,
recently elected having been a Trustee for a little while. We’ve already suffered somewhere
in the region of 50% cuts by the withdrawal of funding for category 3 and category 4 clients.
We’ve also had a 25% reduction already in our funding grant and, quite honestly, any
further cuts is putting the care centre in grave jeopardy. By jeopardy what do you mean? Closure, indeed. And how many people use it? We have somewhere in the region of 30 clients.
We provide a minibus service to pick them up and take them to the care centre and we
also provide on the care centre site, several of the people who don’t come into the centre,
we provide them with meals, meals on wheels or meals on legs as it were. And so to take
that away would be a very, very serious step for us to take, but we can’t continue without
funding. What about some criticism – I’ve heard this
obviously from younger people. They’re saying, you know, why should we give this to older
people, they’ve had their time you know, it should go to younger people. Money, that is. Well, there’s only so much you can spread
a cake around – the piece I’ve got at the moment is rather small but it’s going a long
way. Yes, funding needs to be provided for a whole range of people, but the older you
get the more vulnerable. I mean, I’m no spring chicken myself. Well, you look all right, till you’ve eaten
that cake! The wrong side of 65, and the years are going
ever quicker. Fortunately I enjoy reasonably good health but unfortunately a lot of the
older people don’t enjoy such good health and we really do owe it to them to provide
for them.

Cesar Sullivan

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