Community council stands firm on care village


THE community council has voted unanimously to 'wholeheartedly support' the building of a care village in Langholm.

Last week the E&L Advertiser revealed that a business plan, commissioned by the Integrated Joint Board (IJB) for health and social care integration last November, had been delayed for several months and might be shelved.

The IJB had asked Gary Sheehan, Annandale and Eskdale locality manager, to prepare a business plan for its April meeting. Mr Sheehan told the Langhom reference group meeting in July that there were now financial restraints which would prevent the care village being fully developed.

At Monday's community council meeting Margaret Sanderson, chairwoman, said: "I can disclose that we were told at the reference group meeting that it was 'highly unlikely' a care village would go ahead.

"It doesn't matter what your opinion is but Langholm and the rest of the Esk valley has to have a voice. As we did when it was proposed to close the Thomas Hope Hospital, we should hold a public meeting."

Mrs Sanderson also said there had been a lack of communication and those attending the reference group were not allowed to disclose anything they were told or reveal what was in the documents they read.

Councillor Archie Dryburgh said he was concerned over what the reference group was told before the information had gone to the IJB.

He said: "There should not have been any discussion at the reference group because no decision has been made by the board. People are annoyed that this step has been missed out. This is a governance issue."

Community councillor Aileen Armstrong said she had discussed the issue with the people she met socially.

She said: "It seems to me really fundamental that people don't understand what the board is or the background to it. People think it is the council. We need to go back to basics to help the community understand what the situation is."

Councillor Ronnie Tait, Annandale East and Eskdale, said he met Julie White, the chief operating officer at the IJB.

He said: "She said the only thing she could do was make sure that Mr Sheehan had that report on the table at their meeting on September 28."

Mr Tait argued that Langholm would not necessarily need a care home because fewer people than ever went into residential care in Scotland.

But community councillors said that the town needed options, including care at home, sheltered housing and very sheltered housing as well as a care home.

Also attending was Lucy Aldridge who last week set up an action group to lobby the IJB to stick to its proposal to build a care village.

The group has set up a Facebook page called the Langholm Action Project and is circulating a petition in the area. It is also carrying out a survey to gauge residents' opinions.

She said: "Residents feel a bit powerless and frustrated by the situation so we're trying to get their voices heard and get the board to listen to us. We feel it is a critical issue.

"It is such a complicated, bureacratic story. Now we need to break it down."

The group has invited IJB officials to meet them and plans to attend the board meeting on the 28th.

Thursday, September 7, 2017 at 3:18PM
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