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Campaigner's fight over social care cuts

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A disability rights campaigner will meet Shirehall social care chiefs next month to urge that they protect some of the county's most vulnerable groups during Shropshire Council's cost-cutting drive. A disability rights campaigner will meet Shirehall social care chiefs next month to urge that they protect some of the county's most vulnerable groups during Shropshire Council's cost-cutting drive. Huge savings have been agreed under the community services banner which includes social care. However Nicola Clark, of Shrewsbury, has launched and is co-ordinating a Shropshire Cares Campaign to halt what she has described as the "savagery" of budget cuts to services for adult social care and their carers. Her particular focus at this stage is to try to save the Grange day centre at Harlescott from closing but she has pledged to fight for facilities and services across the county. She will be raising her concerns on January 12 when she meets cabinet member for adult social care, Simon Jones, and assistant director for social care, Stephen Chandler. Mrs Clark is collecting a petition of 1,000 signatures calling for the Grange centre to be reprieved and under the authority's rules a petition of this size will trigger a council debate.

A disability rights campaigner will meet Shirehall social care chiefs next month to urge that they protect some of the county's most vulnerable groups during Shropshire Council's cost-cutting drive.

Huge savings have been agreed under the community services banner which includes social care.

However Nicola Clark, of Shrewsbury, has launched and is co-ordinating a Shropshire Cares Campaign to halt what she has described as the "savagery" of budget cuts to services for adult social care and their carers.

Her particular focus at this stage is to try to save the Grange day centre at Harlescott from closing but she has pledged to fight for facilities and services across the county.

She will be raising her concerns on January 12 when she meets cabinet member for adult social care, Simon Jones, and assistant director for social care, Stephen Chandler.

Mrs Clark is collecting a petition of 1,000 signatures calling for the Grange centre to be reprieved and under the authority's rules a petition of this size will trigger a council debate.

"I think the cuts that the council is planning are just the beginning," said Mrs Clark who has two disabled children and a mother with late-stage Alzheimer's disease.

"It is going to be an extremely difficult time.

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"This campaign is for the long haul and I am totally committed to it," she added.

Last week the council cabinet agreed a number of new savings in adult social care.

These included outsourcing the sensory impairment service (£80,000), disposing of the multi-sensory vehicle (£40,000), reducing mental health day centre provision (£245,000), restructuring administrative support (£248,000), restructuring assessment and care management (£450,000) and introducing day centre charges (£100,000).

Council leader Keith Barrow admits that social care is "always the most sensitive area" where budget reductions are concerned.

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But he said: "We can't leave it with the scale of savings we must make.

"We don't have that choice but a lot of what we plan is about doing things differently and still protecting the vulnerable.

"Where the Grange is concerned it is people we have to protect, not the building.

"We need to provide somewhere that people can still meet and keep the social contact going, and that is what we are doing."

By Dave Morris

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