Both of Ashley's Green Party councillors will today speak against proposals for a cut of bed provision (from 10 to 5) at the Bush residential centre. The Bush (situated in Hengrove) is an overnight short break facility for disabled children, providing respite care for parents and guardians with profoundly disabled children. A Cabinet report1 on short breaks will be considered by the Mayor, and a grass roots campaign by the families affected aims to halt the closure of the Bush beds2.
Council officials say that money freed up by closing five beds will give them the opportunity to diversify the type of respite care that can be offered to parents and young people. The council's data shows that the Bush is at 80% capacity, but officers argue it would be unfeasible just to close 2 of the 10 beds.
Rob Telford, Green councillor for Ashley and vice-chair of the People scrutiny commission where the report was initially heard said: “This is a resident-led campaign. We have a number of worried parents who rely on the Bush for vital respite care for their profoundly disabled children. We know that all council services need improvement, but all the information we have been given has not convinced us that removing five beds is going to be a constructive change for these families, who care passionately about the Bush and its high level of care."
Gus Hoyt, Green councillor for Ashley and Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoodsadded: “The parents who use the Bush have the greatest need. The proposed cut in provision is a severe concern for them as their children are very comfortable with the current arrangement and don’t approach change easily."
The Green Party is committed to respite care breaks and sees them as vital. They ensure carers get the time we all need to rest from work. The Green Party also recognises that breaks enable carers to go on caring. Many respite and day care centres have been closed in recent years, and the buildings sold to the private sector, in order that financial savings be realized by health and social services departments. The Green Party will support existing respite centres and will fund the replacement of respite care centres where they are needed.3
1 The Cabinet report can be found at: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/committee/2014/ua/ua000/1007_5.pdf
2 More information on the grass roots campaign can be found at: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Bush-residential-centre-provides-taste-normal/story-21071781-detail/story.html
3 More information on the Green Party’s social welfare policies can be found at:http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/sw.html#SW902