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Don't force my disabled son out - dad

PUBLISHED: 11:00 02 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:17 05 July 2010

PARENTS and carers of people living at the Lothingland Community Unit at Oulton pledged this week to fight a new government scheme that could force severely disabled people to leave their homes.

PARENTS and carers of people living at the Lothingland Community Unit at Oulton pledged this week to fight a new government scheme that could force severely disabled people to leave their homes.

Last week, The Journal reported on a meeting between health and social service professionals and relatives of those living at the unit when details of the new scheme were presented.

Under the scheme, designed to improve the lives of people with disabilities and give them more independence, units like the one at Lothingland are being phased out and residents will be housed in their own homes with the support services they need.

However, many residents at Lothingland need constant care around the clock in the purpose-built bungalows.

Jim Warren, of Oulton Broad, has a son at the unit and fears for his future if he is forced to leave Lothingland. He said: “My son, and others at the unit, receive the high level of care they need at Lothingland and have built up a close resident-staff relationship which will be broken if they are forced to move,” he said.

Since Mr Warren expressed his fears he has been supported by other parents and carers with loved ones at the unit.

The Journal has received many letters and telephone calls over the past week on the subject with everyone echoing Mr Warren's fears.

One elderly parent living in Lowestoft said the proposed changes are causing a lot of stress and worry.

“My daughter has been living at the unit for the past 15 years. She is 53-years-old and has a mental age of five. She is unable to speak, feed, dress, or look after herself. As she now needs a wheelchair and is prone to epileptic fits she is totally dependant on the 24-hour care she receives,” said the concerned mother.

Parents and carers who contacted The Journal said they had not been reassured by the meeting held with the health service professionals.

Janet and David Barwick, of Corton Road, Lowestoft, said they had the “deepest sympathy” for the parents and carers.

“The speculation that this move will happen has been around for some time now but is devastating for those concerned now that a date has been set.”

Former district councillors Alex Thomson and Jenny Hinton are also opposing the government scheme to move the residents.

“Besides such a move being detrimental to the residents, the stress and strain on their relatives would probably have an adverse affect on their families, who at present are at peace knowing their loved ones are in the best environmental conditions possible.”

Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for adult and community services, has sympathised with the concerns of the carers.

Mr Newman said the changes were a government requirement and had to be achieved by 2010 but promised that residents would receive all the care and support they needed and that carers would be kept fully informed.

Do you have someone who will be affected by the changes? If so write to The Journal, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft, NR32 1NB, or email david.lennard@archant.co.uk

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