Video response to council cuts

Equal Lives chief executive Mark Harrison. Photo: Steve Adams

Equal Lives chief executive Mark Harrison. Photo: Steve Adams

Disability campaigners have made an emotive video explaining how cuts to personal budgets could leave them as 'prisoners in their own home'.

The video forms part of the response by Equal Lives to Norfolk County Council's proposals for cuts to services and the group, which was formerly called the Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People, hopes that it will change the minds of those in power.

Personal budgets see those who need social care given money directly so they can choose to spend it on what they believe is most important.

However, the planned cuts will limit the use of personal budgets to personal, respite and residential care, and mean that it could no longer be used for well-being activities such as attending a day centre or workshops on independent living skills.

Equal Lives chief executive Mark Harrison said: 'If these cuts are implemented in Norfolk, many disabled people will become prisoners in their own home.


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'They won't be able to get out because the well-being, the social activities that are funded through their personal budgets are going to be taken away.'

In the video, Sue Sutherland describes her personal budget as a 'breath of fresh air' which has enabled her to get out of the house without having to rely on her partner and has also meant she has been able to take up gardening as a hobby.

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She says: 'It's changed my life. I don't get so depressed and it's given me a reason for going on, for living. It's been a wonderful journey and I'd love to see that continue.'

She added: 'If the proposed cuts go ahead and I lose my supported activities, I can't see why I'd want to get out of bed in the mornings.'

Norfolk's Putting People First consultation ends at midnight tomorrow, Thursday, December 12, so residents still have time to make their voices heard about how they think Norfolk County Council should plug the £189 million gap in funding for services over the coming years.

The council has so far received more than 8,500 individual responses to the consultation from more than 1,650 individuals and groups.

To find out more and have your say, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/puttingpeoplefirst

Once the consultation process is finished, the feedback will be considered by county councillors at meetings during January before full council agrees a budget for 2014-15 on February 17 next year.

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