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From Nursery World. 15th September 2010

Early intervention services in the NHS that promote infant mental health and attachment are being targeted for cuts in some areas, a leading child psychiatrist has warned.

Dr Shirley Gracias, a consultant in infant, child and adolescent psychiatry, and ex-chair of the Association for Infant Mental Health UK (AIMH UK), commented following the International Association for the Study of Attachment, which took place at the end of August.

She said, ‘I am alarmed by the approach being taken by some in the NHS towards the mental health of infants. Helping parents to form attachments with their babies is being seen as a dispensable luxury, with funding being withdrawn……

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OPPOSITION is being directed at council proposals to axe a mental health day centre.

Users of the Redbridge Resource Centre, Ley Street, Ilford, say council chiefs will have “blood on their hands” if they go through with proposals to close it for good.

They are looking at yearly savings of £551,000 by axing the Monday to Friday service, which has 145 active users, as well as closing a housing complex for those with mental health needs.

Ian Levene, of Mount Pleasant, Ilford, has been using the day centre for 10 years.

He said: “It’s a place where people can meet friends and can get on with their lives without being indoors all the time.”

Mr Levene added: “We know cuts have to me made – they (council chiefs) should cap their salaries. If they’ve been throwing money around for years and years, don’t blame us.”

The centre houses an art and TV room, as well as facilities for massage and quiet time.

Polly Kourtellas, 47, has relied on the centre for five years.

Polly, of Fullwell Avenue, Barkingside, said: “It helps me to not be isolated indoors. The only place I eat is at the centre.

“I’m on medication and if I feel isolated it makes me self-harm. It’s helped me a hell of a lot.”

Council bosses say relocating service users to existing schemes in the borough will be a “considerable challenge”.

The proposals are part of £5.8million of savings being made by the council to offset government budget cuts.

Town Hall bosses are also proposing to close Abury House, Aldborough Road North, Newbury Park, which is a supported accommodation complex with nine purpose-built flats for people with mental health needs…..

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From the Shields Gazette. 14th September 2010

PAGES 4 & 5 of Friday’s Gazette showed in eloquent detail how South Tyneside Council and the chosen lead members who share Cabinet responsibility are responsible for the demise of this borough over time.

First, let me say that I recognise the depleted budgets through the new coalition government that have been channelled down to councils, whatever their political persuasion.

However, it does not inform councils, as far as I am aware, how to manage that budget on a service-by-service basis, which is why I am appalled at the decision to stop subsidies to eight luncheon clubs and other charitable agents.

These meals are predominantly enjoyed by the aged and disabled, and in many instances are the only opportunity to socialise in an otherwise alien world it is their misfortune to inhabit. The saving – some £160,000 a year!…

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From the Herald. 14th September 2010

Hundreds of desperate families in Scotland are living in fear of losing out on £61m of funding due to government cutbacks.

The money is Scotland’s share of the Independent Living Fund, a £360m pot for some of the most disabled people in the UK, which was set up to help those who choose to live in the community rather than in residential care.

In some cases, families use the money to pay for additional carers to enable disabled adults to have a social life, or take part in sports or other activities. For many it helps to provide a break for family members who often undertake hours of unpaid caring duties.

Disability campaigners were already concerned about a decision taken earlier this year to refuse applications from anyone not working a minimum of 16 hours a week. Then in June, after two months of the financial year, the fund was effectively closed for business as it had run out of money for new applicants.

Now, officials within the Department for Work and Pensions have warned a Scottish disability project that the fund could be handed over to local councils, or the Department of Health, but with no money to fund new applicants. After that it could face complete closure within four years…..

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From the Shropshire Star. 16th September 2010

Blog:Life seems to be going on as normal in Shropshire despite the massive savings (or do we say cuts?) Shirehall bosses plan to make.

For example, from my office window I can see cars queuing to get on to a supermarket car park and early today the roads were heavy with traffic, lorries transporting goods and countless cars speeding people to work.

Sauntering along the town pavements were large numbers of secondary school pupils, chatting and laughing with, it would appear, hardly a care in the world.

Nothing seems different.

But a council can’t find savings of nearly £60 million over three years without something changing and someone being hurt.

This hit home at a meeting of the Shropshire Council cabinet which was considering a list of budget ideas of next year.

About £200,000 could be saved by closing the Grange day centre in Shrewsbury…..

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From Children and Young People Now. 16th September 2010

Sheffield City Council’s package of £2m of cuts will hit the most vulnerable young people, according to Unite’s Community and Youth Workers’ members.

The union is currently consulting with management to reduce compulsory redundancies at Sheffield Futures, which provides the youth service and Connexions service for Sheffield City Council. Ninety-five out of 360 jobs are at risk.

Unite official Harriet Eisner said: “These cuts are going to hit highly skilled youth workers and Connexions workers in Sheffield. They are also going to do untold damage to Sheffield’s communities in the future by cutting a vital frontline service to the youth of today.

“The real price will be paid by those young people we could be helping for generations to come. Sheffield families and communities who value the work are already coming to us expressing their fears for the future.”

Sheffield Futures helps young people into training and into work. They also work closely with vulnerable young people, providing support to them with health, developmental and social problems…..

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From the Westmoreland Gazette. 16th September 2010

COUNCILLORS have agreed to drastic spending cuts in order to cope with a £7.93 million reduction in their budget.

As part of the Government’s £6.2 billion cut in public spending, every council in the UK is being forced to cut back.

Cumbria County Council this morning agreed to the cuts at a cabinet meeting.

Children’s services will be hit hardest, with a £3.1 million reduction in the area-based grant.

This means that there will have to be funding reductions in the way the council supports schools in areas such as under attainment, attendance, healthy eating, extended services and travelling to school initiatives.

The funding reductions in children’s services will also impact on other organisations.

The council’s contribution to the Connexions service, which helps 13-19 year olds progress into adult life through support and development, is being reduced by £415,000…..

………….We are particularly concerned that we are still awaiting decisions from the Government on a further £1.75m in grants for play areas, respite care facilities for disabled children and Children’s Centres.”

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From the Guardian. 17th September 2010

Council insists £1.1m subsidy cannot continue

Campaigners have vowed to keep fighting to save Edinburgh’s Blindcraft bed factory, despite fears its closure is now inevitable.

Council leaders were urged to look at the turnaround of Glencraft in Aberdeen for inspiration after announcing it was considering closing the Blindcraft factory in Peffermill to save £700,000.

The council-subsided charity, which has blind and disabled people among its 70 employees, has seen sales declining recently as customers such as hotels and retailers scale back spending. Employees at the factory produce beds from scratch, from building the wooden frames to stitching the mattresses.

Yesterday the SNP and Lib Dem administration was accused of “utter heartlessness” when it voted to begin a 30 day consultation period with the factory staff. …

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From Children and Young People Now. 14th September 2010

Local authorities are cutting budgets for disabled children pre-emptively in the belief that funding will not be available for services from April, according to a report.

The study by Every Disabled Child Matters, based on the responses of 41 families and professionals, highlights concerns that despite substantial investment through the Aiming High for Disabled Children programme over the past year, some areas have slashed services for disabled children in an attempt to reduce budgets.

The report, Close to Crisis: Frontline Service Cuts for Disabled Children, raises concerns that swingeing cuts to local services will result in a long-term increase in government spending because families will fall back on expensive crisis support….

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Cuts hit disabled people

From the North West Evening News. 16th September 2010

PENSIONERS and disabled people could lose their independence due to funding cuts.

Members of South Copeland Disability Group believe slashing £1.2m of disability grants in half will impact on 2,000 people in the Millom area.

The grants are used to help people keep their independence – from installing custom kitchens and walk-in showers, lighting and heating controls and mobility aides.

The cut in government funding was revealed by Copeland Borough Council leader, Elaine Woodburn, last month.

While the funds were in addition to the annual allowance for such grants, a spokeswoman for Copeland Borough Council said it had been hoped the funds would stem a funding shortfall….

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