Wednesday, 27 April 2011

H&F Council mental health cuts "austere": Guardian

Todays Guardian carries an article which highglights the very human impact of some of the cuts that were pushed through at this meeting in Hammersmith Town Hall just a few weeks ago. Although most commentators attention was drawn to the imact on children's services as a result of Sure Start cuts another group of vulnerable people are set to feel the brunt too - those with mental health problems and who live in some of the hostels that are about to be closed.

The Guardian piece starts thus:
Last month, Hammersmith and Fulham council's cabinet decided to close the 14-unit Tamworth hostel, make all staff redundant and sell the building. The council said alternative accommodation would be found for the hostel's eight residents. The council's rationale for closure was a Supporting People fund contribution towards a £300,000 austerity saving. Selling the building would be a nice little earner.

Things aren't looking as bright for those in the hostel, though. Inside, you find angry, soon-to-be-unemployed staff, concerned residents and a sort of muted, but palpable, sense of calamity. It's not just the job losses, or the uncertainty faced by residents. There's a feeling that with this sort of closure, we're getting a glimpse into austerity's darkest corners – corners where sufferers of severe mental illness rot in substandard B&Bs, or end up on the street. Time will tell.
It doesn't get much happier, with frightened residents predicting that they'll be preyed upon, "like last time" says one woman of when she was last in a B&B. Read it all here

There is of course another mental health hostel set to close in Shepherd's Bush, that on Lime Grove, to make way for the Council's plans to alloow developers to build seven floors of flats on top of the Market, relegating the Market to an underground car park-like existence and shunting the hostel users elsewhere. Residents of Pennard Road and Lime Grove predicted with dread what the consequences would be not just for these vulnerable people but to the residents themselves. Here's what I reported one resident called Caspar having said at the time:
"The most powerful speaker of the evening was a Lime Grove resident called Casper. He stood up and spoke eloquently about the impact not often referred to by proponents and opponents alike, and that is the likely relocation of a homeless and drug user service, back to within that residential area, from where it was removed only 5 or so years ago. Recalling taking his children to their first day at school he reminisced about their having seen vomiting, urinating and other behaviour from the addicts and homeless people being served on their road. All of this is set to return under the current plans because their new hostel occupies land that Orion wish to build flats on".

Austerity Bush..


  1. What is the reason behind this?Only for commercial purpose?If so then its not fair.If you are closing those hostels, then make some other arrangements for the people staying there.

  2. Chris/Magento,
    The author of the Guardian article is Kate Belgrave who I don't think would make any claim to be an impartial observer of politics in our borough.
    Closing the Tamworth hostel makes sense as the residents will be moved to spare places in better hostels. That is why the decision is backed by MIND and most of the residents.

    More here:

  3. That's still a reduction in hostel spaces though, Harry...