Story: Abtisam Mohamed
At the June 2008Area Panel, disappointment was expressed at the response from Council Officers to a community campaign for better day-care provision for elders from ethnic minority communities.
In April 2007 last year, the Yemeni Community Association (YCA) and Pakistan Advice Centre (PAC) organised a consultation event for older people. Over 100 elders from the Yemeni, Somali and Pakistani community came to voice their concerns to Council managers about the lack of appropriate services.
Elders wanted local day-care services that met cultural needs. They wanted information to be accessible in centres they used and trusted. Based on the feedback from the event a report with recommendations was written and sent to Council Managers.
However, 15 months after the event, no response has been received from the Council, leaving the older people cynical about real change. One older man said, “When will they listen to us? It’s like we don’t exist!”
When challenged at the Area Panel meeting, Eddie Sherwood and Phil Reid, from the Council’s Neighborhoods and Community Care Directorate acknowledged that they should have responded to the recommendations made.
They said they have introduced a DVD in community languages for illiterate older people to watch about services available to them, apparently unaware that many older people do not own a DVD player let alone know how to use one!
Lack of Response
The Council Officers said they had commissioned daycare places in response to the feedback but these places were for high specialist support. They did not listen to the older people’s cries for a preventative facility for those with low to intermediate needs, where they could socialise and avoid being isolated. Such a service would reduce the need for specialist care in the long term. The responses given by Eddie Sherwood and Phil Reid were impractical and meaningless and did not address the needs that were raised. As a result of the lack of response the issue is now to be taken to the Council Scrutiny Board.
For more information about the campaign or for a copy of the report, contact Abtisam Mohamed from the YCA on 2560933 or Gulnaz Hussain from the PCA on 2619130.
In response, Eddie Sherwood said:
“The Council apologises for the lack of a formal response to the report which was due to poor internal communication within the Council. We were rightly challenged about this at the meeting. We will be producing a formal report based on both the information we provided at the meeting and subsequently in response to the points raised at the meeting.”