Praise for Birmingham social services

Care user Charlotte Price writes about some of the work done by Birmingham City Council.

My sister Joanne is 59 and has Downs Syndrome and dementia. She has attended Hockley day care centre, which is funded by the local authority, for over forty years. She is the longest service user to have ever been there but on 19th October we are retiring her from centre and moving her onto direct payments.

This is a scheme which is funded by Birmingham City Council, which will give Joanne the opportunity to have a PA to look after and take her out when she needs, as her dementia is becoming more visible, and is happening quickly due to her Downs Syndrome. I would like her to do as much as possible before this awful disease take a firm hold.

I am writing because I would like to say how much I appreciate the wonderful work, support and care that Joanne has had for the last 43 years. I want to celebrate and thank everyone for all the help that they have given to this one person in the community. Joanne was told that she would never be able to go to any regular school due to her condition, so she is lucky to have had the opportunity to go to the centre, and the length of time she has used the service shows how great it has been for her.

I would like to share this story to show the public how amazing the people there have been and also to talk about the new direct payments, which give people with disabilities more choice with their care needs, and more variety of care. I have looked after Joanne for twelve years, since our mum passed in 2007. I would like people to know how much we appreciate the work of the centre, to thank Birmingham City Council, and also to highlight how important direct payments have been for families like ours.