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Council cutbacks putting residents in danger, group claims

Yateley Industries For The Disabled has seen huge funding cuts from Hampshire County Council

Diane Parsons and Roy Grimwood, Yateley Industries

A disabled man is recovering in hospital after collapsing in an incident his charity has blamed on county council cutbacks.

Wheelchair-bound Mark Carter was found collapsed in his bungalow at Yateley Industries For The Disabled after suffering a diabetic attack last Wednesday morning (May 7).

The 50-year-old remains in intensive care at Frimley Park Hospital.

Mr Carter – who has spina bifida – lives at, and works for, the charity, which has seen huge funding cuts from Hampshire County Council in the last two years.

Roy Grimwood, chairman of the charitable trust, said if Mr Carter had collapsed a day later, things could have been “a lot worse”.

Mr Grimwood said: “Mark is not due in to work on Thursdays so he could have been laying there all day if we had not checked on him.

“But, following a visit from the council, our wake-up calls in the mornings were described as ‘unnecessary’.

“According to the county council we are providing a five-star service with three-star funding.”

There are 12 bungalows on the site which are rented out by 27 people, all of whom have a disability of some kind.

The residents, plus 62 others from the community, work in the factory on the site, packing and assembling items such as furnishings and putting together poppies for the Royal British Legion.

After last week’s incident, resident support manager Diane Parsons, said she could not sleep at night and would continue making early morning calls outside her shift hours.

She said: “I go in between 7am and 8am to wake them up. They are not at risk, but they have problems associated with their disabilities. It is an additional safeguard I feel is necessary on-site.”

Mrs Parsons, who lives across the road from the site, said Yateley Industries has had to stop holding film nights, quizzes and trips to the shops and the cinema, due to the funding cuts.

Hampshire Council previously gave Yateley Industries £120,000, cut to £90,000 last year and then slashed to £76,000 this year.

As a result, a key member of staff at Yateley Industries was made redundant at the end of March.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Hampshire’s executive member for adult social care and public health, said: “Our immediate priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the gentleman concerned and, once well, we will be working with him and his family to assess his care needs and ensure support is put in place where needed.

“While there has been a small reduction in the number of hours of support commissioned by the council from Yateley Industries until April 2015, the reduction has only been made to reflect the number of hours being delivered, according to Yateley’s submissions last year.”

The council said it would work closely with Yateley Industries, including as a potential new support provider after 2015.

 
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