Care campaigners urge Norfolk County Council to spend to save services

Care campaigners insist Norfolk's largest council must dip into its �91m reserves to bolster services for the elderly. Preventative care services, which aim to spot early signs of illness, are expected to lose up to �11m of funding by 2014.

And supporters of the EDP-backed Cut Cake Not Care campaign continued talks with Norfolk County Council yesterday, warning of the dangers of the wrong choices.

Hundreds of postcards urging councillors to rethink their decision for Monday's 2012/13 budget vote were also handed to the authority.

Age UK Norfolk and Age UK Norwich, along with older people's forums across the county, relaunched the Cut Cake Not Care campaign last December.

It has already seen the council's Conservative cabinet reinstate �185,000 for its Quality Assurance Service, which monitors social care standards.

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Phil Wells, Age UK Norwich chief executive, said: 'I was encouraged by the openness to the idea that the council showed about a more strategic approach to investment in prevention services and perhaps to consider a further use of reserves to reduce the demand on more expensive care services. I think one of the concerns is the campaign can only achieve so much in Norfolk as the bigger game is being played out nationally.'

Mr Wells said this left social care staff having to restructure while working with fewer resources.

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Emily Millington-Smith, chairman of the Norfolk Older People's Forum and president of Age UK Norfolk, said she was hopeful talks between different areas of the public sector, including councils and the NHS, would find ways to improve services.

Shelagh Gurney, Norfolk County Council's deputy cabinet member for adult social services, said: 'We've had a very interesting and productive discussion. Some of the questions they asked we need to follow up and take back with us.

'We've already taken on board a lot of concerns about the proposed budget cuts and we have already, via the cabinet, put some money back in to prevention services.

'There's a new wellbeing fund that's been launched and we are looking at what we can do in the difficult financial circumstances.'

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