Sir Bob Geldof, Harry Enfield, Ruby Wax and Liz Hurley are among the latest public figures to join Rosa Monckton’s Adults In Need campaign.
They have joined more than 6,000 who signed her e-petition calling on the Government to ensure cradle-to-grave care for people with learning disabilities. If it secures 100,000 signatures, the issue will be debated in the House of Commons.
‘There is such misery out there,’ says Rosa, who has been contacted by thousands of people offering support for her campaign after she wrote movingly of the need to safeguard lifetime care for disabled people.
Chef Nigella Lawson, authors P. D. James and Louis de Bernieres, playwright Sir Tom Stoppard, and businessman Sir David Tang have also signed the petition.
Rosa’s Adults In Need campaign is calling for the Government to ring-fence money allocated to councils for social care.
She said: ‘The response has been overwhelming’. She has been contacted by more than 1,500 parents and carers since the campaign began.
One correspondent, Geraldine Rimmer, of Palmers Green, North London, spoke of her battle with social services, who want to remove her son Jack, 21, from residential care into a ‘supported living’ house – in order to cut costs.
‘After one meeting, the social workers suddenly knew what was best for Jack,’ says Geraldine. ‘I visited a supported living house and cried. I explained that he was not able to talk or use sign language. They said he could write everything down. But he can’t write properly! It was a disgrace.’
‘There is such a lot of anger and anguish out there as parents and carers struggle to get the care their loved ones need,’ said Rosa.
‘There needs to be a change in the system, away from this tick-box approach to people with learning disabilities which does not treat them as individuals or provide any compassion.’
In 2010, the Coalition Government promised an additional £2 billion to support adult social care by 2014-15.
‘The money is not ring-fenced,’ explained Rosa, who is married to journalist Dominic Lawson, and whose 16-year-old daughter Domenica has Down’s syndrome.
‘This means we may get some very nicely painted town halls but not what some of the country’s most vulnerable people need.
‘The Government must set up a single body to organise the distribution of money for adult social care and they must ensure that it is spent on this vulnerable group of people.
‘If you allocate a department a budget you want to know that the money has been spent on what was intended – it is basic good practice.’
Rosa has been emailed by people from all over the country, many facing a daily struggle with social services, and united by a concern about what will happen to their offspring in future.
Among them was Helen Brown, 58, from Somerset, who is worried about what will happen to her children Calum, 24, who has Asperger’s syndrome, and Elly, 22, who suffers from autism.
‘It has been a full-time job for me just trying to get the services they need,’ Mrs Brown said.
‘My daughter is now in residential care so I am more worried about what will happen to my son, who still lives with us, when my husband and I are gone.’
Adrian Coupar, 67, is concerned about the closure of local services attended by his son Michael, 46, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
‘At the local day centre the care is excellent,’ said Mr Coupar, from Macclesfield.
‘Every day my wife and I know Michael is safe. But it is now being closed and all its “clients”, as they refer to people such as my son, are being moved to a new centre.’
Adrian and Helen are calling on Mail on Sunday readers to back the Adults In Need campaign by going online to sign the e-petition.
Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said: ‘Urgent reform of the care and support system is needed.
‘We know that council spending on social care is under pressure – that’s why the Government is providing an extra £7.2 billion over four years to local authorities so that they can protect access to care and support.’
● To add your name to the e-petition, click here.
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