Oxfordshire County Council: Don't take my brother's home away #JusticeforJames
  • Petitioned John Jackson
  • Responded

This petition was delivered to:

Director for Social and Community Services
John Jackson
See response
Chief Executive
Joanna Simons

Oxfordshire County Council: Don't take my brother's home away #JusticeforJames

    1. Alana Inness
    2. Petition by

      Alana Inness

      Bracknell, United Kingdom

My brother James is 25 years old and has Down's Syndrome.  He lives in a normal house with another person who also has learning disabilities.  They are able to live there because they receive support that allows them to live as independent and fulfilling lives as possible.  James is finally settled and has a home that is his.  Now all this is being taken away from him.

This month James was served with an eviction notice.  My parents have been informed that due to budget cuts to the care agency that look after him, James will no longer get the support he needs to live in his home and will have to leave.

James struggles to deal with change.  He has been living in his current house for 15 months and it has taken him almost this length of time to settle in and call it his home.  James will never be able to live completely independently as he would not be safe to do so.  He requires help on a daily basis to take medication and assist him to do basic things like washing clothes and cooking his food.  If there was a fire or an accident James would not know how to cope.  He needs the 24-hour support.

He also likes his own space in a quiet environment, anything too noisy makes him very anxious.  This means that living with another person with learning disabilities while being supported through the day and overnight allows him a good balance between living independently and living a healthy life.  He is happy, secure and safe.

However the council are now cutting the budgets given to care services and the agency that gives James the 24-hour support he needs is being forced to take it away.  It means that as of 1 December my brother James is going to be made homeless.

His needs have not changed but Oxfordshire County Council has to make £61m of budget cuts and this means that the most vulnerable people in society are beginning to suffer.  Yet about £7m of Oxfordshire's public money is still tied up in Icelandic banks almost five years after they collapsed.

This is not just about James; it’s about all those vulnerable people in society who cannot stand up for themselves and make their voices heard.  James is just one of many who will be affected by this callous change in funding.  

We know of other people with learning disabilities who have no parents or close families that can help them fight to stay in the only place they know as home.  These people will be forced into services that may not suit their needs, where they don’t feel safe and secure, where they feel unsettled and anxious and out of place but these places are cheaper for the council to sustain.

No-one deserves this but this is what we are pushing our most vulnerable members of society towards.  We are not making progress for those people who in past generations would have been placed in institutions; their plight is still just as hidden as councils brush these changes under the carpet under the guise of “saving money while at the same time creating better outcomes for service users”.  My brother is not a "service user"; he is a person who has a home that he loves and wants to stay in.

James has not had a choice and has not been in control as to what happens to him.

Sign this petition and tell Oxfordshire County Council not to make people with learning disabilities homeless.

To:
John Jackson, Director for Social and Community Services
Joanna Simons, Chief Executive
Stop making people with learning disabilities homeless through budget cuts

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 150,000 signatures
    2. Update

      Alana Inness
      Petition Organizer

      We are very pleased to let you know that we had a productive meeting with senior representatives from Oxfordshire County Council. At this meeting the Council confirmed that they have been able to negotiate for James’ tenancy to be extended for six months while they work to find a permanent solution. We are sure this in no small part due to the support you have shown us in our campaign, so thank you.

      Ensuring James' long term independence is not yet over and so during the next six months we will be working closely with the council to look at a number of more permanent options for James. We will keep you updated with progress and any further help we may need from you.

      We will be working on a a much wider campaign around this to help other people in a similar situation to James. Please keep checking your inbox for messages from me as I will be in touch very soon to ask for your support once again in ensuring an independent future for those more vulnerable members of our society.

    3. Decision-maker John Jackson responds:

      John Jackson

      "I want to reassure James and his family that he will not be made homeless and that the county council will continue to meet his care needs, as we are legally obliged to do.

      "The social care team has talked frequently to James’ family...


    4. Meeting with David Cameron: Friday, 18 Oct

      Alana Inness
      Petition Organizer

      #JusticeForJames update: Thank you so much everyone who has sent good wishes and asked how Friday went, I've been so busy this is the first opportunity I've had to update you all!

      The meeting seemed to go well and David Cameron was very supportive. Things are in motion to resolve James' situation; I'll let you know more when I can as nothing is confirmed as yet.

      With regard to the wider issues that this has surfaced about how the cuts are affecting vulnerable people, things are also in motion to try to get the issue debated in parliament. At the moment we are waiting on David Cameron's office to give us further details about what we need to do to make this happen.

      Thank you once again for all your support over the last week - it has been truly amazing and overwhelming!

    5. Reached 100,000 signatures
    6. Oxford Mail article

      Alana Inness
      Petition Organizer

      Today we were published in both the local and national press:
      https://scontent-b-lhr.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/1381953_10153292681935478_126686521_n.jpg

    7. ITV Meridian News

      Alana Inness
      Petition Organizer

      For those in ITV Meridian area, a very nervous but brilliant Neil (James' father) will be on tonight's news (6pm) talking about #JusticeForJames

    8. Reached 75,000 signatures
    9. Meeting with David Cameron: Friday, 18 Oct

      Alana Inness
      Petition Organizer

      James' parents will be meeting David Cameron on Friday to talk about James' situation and how his cuts are affecting vulnerable people in his own constituency and nationwide. Tweet him @David_Cameron and ask him to help James and his peers.

      ---------------------------
      On hearing the BBC's recent report that said "Many people in the UK think the quality of public services overall have been maintained or improved in the past five years despite government cuts", David Cameron said 'I thought I'd died and gone to heaven". Tweet him to tell him vulnerable people suffering as a result of the cuts certainly aren't in heaven!

    10. Reached 500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • peter preston HAVANT, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 13 days ago

      we should look after the weakest in society its all we have

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • trish ashby MAIDSTONE, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 20 days ago

      I have a son with Downs Syndrome who 22 - I hope that he will be able to live independently free from worry and stress, so this issue is very important we must make sure that our beloved relatives, sons and daughters have a safe and secure and happy future.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • twaddle suzanne ARBROATH, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 23 days ago

      My son has Autistic Spectrum Disorder and allthough he is only seven I worry what the future holds for him when I'm no longer around. I know with the right support he can have a fulfilling life but I worry that when myself and my husband are gone who will give him the help he deserves to ensure he continues to be all that he can be.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jennifer Kim 레스터, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 26 days ago

      I do not believe in abandonment.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • angela laing KIRKCALDY, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 28 days ago

      it's not fair on the most needy people

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.