In reply to the letter in your edition of January 13th by Mary Lawrenson.
I must say I was astonished by its contents and the many discrepancies in it from the way I believe things happened. I was on hand at the centre while all these changes took place. I never met Mrs Lawrenson personally even though I was employed at the Marsden Centre almost up to the time it closed which was, incidentally, in July not June as stated.
I would imagine Mrs Lawrenson to be aware of all the facts, but sadly it seems as though the figures she was given or passed on did in fact get lost in translation. I know exactly how many service users were “shipped out” during the last six months from Christmas, 2010, to July, 2011, and we had some very upset service users who were not given another service. They were told they were finishing with hardly any notice and told they no longer needed a service.
To say there were only six who wished to stay is absolute rubbish; in fact to this day nine are attending Temple Street who went there from the Marsden Centre, and lots more who I can name were not given a choice or invited to go to Temple Street or anywhere else.
It was also stated there was a meeting on September 21st for 12 remaining service users. There were only nine remaining on the register at the Marsden Centre at the end of June, so where did the 12 come from?
All assessments took place from December, 2010, to June, 2011, by social workers and assistants in the centre, so by my reckoning around 50 to 60 left during this time. Only one (and I could name him) decided to have a PA and manage his own finances so this was hardly a reason for decline in numbers.
I never spoke to any of the people who went away from the Marsden Centre who were happy to leave. They weren’t at all happy with the alternative support arrangements or lack of offered, many of these proving unsuitable to their needs.
To my mind all these changes were enforced far too quickly, with four or five every week being told they no longer met with the criteria.
What a disgraceful way to treat elderly and disabled and often very lonely people in the manner it was handled.