Councillor’s dismay at care home closure

A Hadfield care home is to close with some 33 residents forced to move elsewhere.

Following an announcement last Thursday evening (6th February) the privately-owned Merseybank Care Home will shut on 10th May 2014.

Residents, families and staff have been given a little over three months’ notice of the closure, and up to 50 people will lose their jobs.

The surprise announcement on Thursday comes just weeks after The Priory Group run care home on The Carriage Drive failed to meet any of the standards required by the Care Quality Commission in their latest inspection.

It is thought that the home’s owners decided to shut due to the significant amount of investment required – thought to be in the region of £3 million – to bring the grade-2 listed home up to the required standard.

Cllr Greenhalghat the Hadfield care home that is due to shut

Cllr Greenhalgh outside the Hadfield care home that is due to shut in May.

County Councillor Damien Greenhalgh commenting on the closure said “It’s a crying shame that the company couldn’t make the investment in the people of Hadfield and Glossop and those whose workplace and home this has become.

“This closure is truly awful for all those involved. Many of the home’s residents are frail and elderly and are now going to be moved which will be very traumatic for them and their nearest and dearest.

“A lot of these people have lived in Hadfield and Glossop all their lives and now they could end up being moved elsewhere.”

Cllr Greenhalgh added “I am just thankful that Derbyshire County Council’s wonderful Talbot Street-based Adult Social Care team is doing a great job in difficult circumstances to help re-home residents and offer advice and support to their relatives and the staff in the home – with many going above and beyond the call of duty”.

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Spreading the word during reading week

Pupils at a Chesterfield primary school have been enjoying extra storytimes as part of a week dedicated to the written word.  Whitecotes Primary School invited me to visit on Monday at the start the week to read the children a story.

Me reading to children at Whitecotes Primary School as part of their reading week.

Me reading to children at Whitecotes Primary School as part of their reading week.

I had the great pleasure to read ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark‘ to the Toucans (a year 1 class) – you’ll be happy to know that little Plop overcomes his fear in the end!!

Reading is so very important for children. It improves their language skills, develops their vocabulary and their imagination. And put plainly children who can read do better at school.

As well as my visit, author Daniel Blythe, whose work includes Doctor Who novels, popped into the school.
Children will also be dressing up as a favourite book character, pupils from different years are to buddy up and read to each other, and a local book shop has donated cash to buy new library books.

Labour Cllrs say no to allowance rise

I am please to annouce that at yesterday’s Full Meeting of the County Council that the entire Labour Group agreed to not take the automatic 1% rise in allowances which occurs as result of a rise for all public sector workers, Derbyshire CC staff amongst them.

My email to staff renouncing the 1% rise in Member's Allowances.

My email to staff renouncing the 1% rise in Member’s Allowances.

Furthermore we announced that this saving to the Authority – which roughly equates to about £7,500 – would go into a newly created Derbyshire Challenge Fund which will be used as seed-corn money to finance new and innovating ways of working particularly in partnership with other organisation such as the NHS in these financially challenging times. In addition to these immediate savings, the Fund is to be kick started with £2million from smarter purchasing, a £35,000 saving on the civic cars and £45,000 from our Chair/Vice-Chair not attending the civil council junkets.

What remains to be seen is whether the other Political Groups follow our suit?
They couldn’t be drawn on it yesterday.

Glossop Gazette Questions

The Glossop Gazette  as part of it’s coverage is asking every candidate three questions. Please find these along with my answer below.

 

1. Is the loss of 1,400 jobs an inevitable consequence of the savings that must be made in the DCC budget?  How would your party’s cuts differ from those of your opponents?

It is a sad reality that job loses at the County Council would have to be considered by any new administration in Matlock of any political colour.

The Council’s budget has been cut by one third which is difficult enough but added to the increasing cost of care for the elderly and those venerable members of our society whom have had their lives made even harder by Government cuts, and some very painful decisions lie ahead.

The 1400 figure is the current Conservative administration’s calculation but we aren’t able to see what informed that decision. Not until a new administration takes over and has the opportunity to look over the books will we know if those assumptions are correct or not.

Labour values people as being the greatest resource of the Council and we will always try to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies, but at the moment assurances are unfortunately impossible. 

 
2. If you were on the DCC planning and control committee would you have approved the application to demolish the old St Lukes School and build a new library?  If not please suggest an alternative.

The plan to build an inappropriate new library in Glossop will not see the light of day if Ellie and I are elected. The hastily put together application will be withdrawn.

I, like many residents I’ve spoken to, do not buy into the false argument used by currently county councillors that the Victoria Hall cannot be become a library and community resource fit for the 21st century.

Therefore a consultation to assess the needs and requirements of the people of Glossop will take place after the election, with proposals that will focus on a sympathetic internal refurbishment of the Victoria Hall with the funds available; if people have an unexpected and unlikely change of mind then we would of course look again at this.

 
3. Is immigration an issue in the DCC elections? If so, why?

Immigration has long been used by political opportunists seeking someone to blame all the country’s ills. Migrants by and large contribute to society and have added great social, economic and cultural value to our nation – their looking after our elderly and unwell in the NHS is the exemplar.

The overwhelming proportion of them come to this country to work, create wealth and pay taxes, not to live off benefits or seek NHS treatment as is often portrayed. 

The problem is not immigration but our globalised free-market system which denies us the tax base to invest properly in people and places. It’s not a new immigration policy we need, but a reformed system where the likes of Google, Amazon, Vodafone and Starbucks pay their fair share of taxes.