Monday, 12 March 2012

Guest Blog - Open Letter to all Barnet councillors from Linda Edwards

By Linda Edwards
(Hear Linda Edwards tell her story in 
A Tale of Two Barnets -


To :             London Borough of Barnet Councillors

From:         Linda Edwards, family carer
Date:         8th March 2012
Subject:    A Tale of Two Barnets - Invitation

Dear London Borough of Barnet Councillors,

I am writing to you with deep respect for the valuable work you are doing on behalf of London Borough of Barnet residents.  My family are five-generations Barnet residents and we have all felt proud to be part of Barnet community.  I remember my late grandparents describing the fields and farms in Edgware, which have been developed into roads, shops and homes, and where I now live, and work.

My adult daughter has a learning disability and is on the autistic spectrum.  From 2007 to 2011 I pleaded with LBB Adult Social Care and Health Director and senior managers, to remove the bullying service provider they had hurriedly commissioned for my vulnerable daughter.  This service provider had not previously delivered supported living, and their lack of understanding, knowledge, experience and willingness to work with the family carer caused my daughter to become deskilled, regressed, depressed and unmotivated, as well as causing a lot of stress and ill health to me as a family carer.  This is contrary to the national criteria for supported living, based upon Choice, Independence and Control, and against national and LBB Carers Strategy (2009-2012) of “valuing and respecting family carers as expert care partners.”

For over three years I spoke up at LBB conferences, training days, workshops and partnership board meetings, highlighting how the glossy brochures stand in stark contrast to the reality on the ground for too many vulnerable people and their carers in Barnet. Sadly, as a result I was victimised, and experienced myself why vulnerable people and carers are frightened to speak out.  Whether this is real or perceived, this sense of fear and intimidation is the reality for many disabled people and their family carers.

My continual protest was driven by a desire for my family and I to regain the pride we once felt, in what used to be such an amazing borough for everyone to live in. I desperately wanted that it should not be necessary to highlight these issues outside of Barnet. 

However, what has become evident during years of protesting on my own is that there is a need for greater scrutiny of services by carers and service-users as “experts”, and for proper accountability and monitoring of the services.

This is what brought two Barnet family carers to found the Campaign Against the Destruction of Disabled Support Services (CADDSS).  CADDSS membership and supporters is increasing as they uncover more sad cases of neglect and injustice.  Unfortunately it takes vigorous campaigning to promote awareness, and to achieve the necessary changes that will mean real support for vulnerable people in society.

After many years of fighting, and mainly through the support of Yvonne Hossack, of Hossacks Solicitors, my daughter is now with another service provider.

However, it has become apparent that the need to continue campaigning for all vulnerable people is crucial.  This is why in 2011 I began to speak and write publicly outside of Barnet. As part of this I have contributed to “A Tale of Two Barnets”, a film that is highlighting various issues affecting Barnet residents and what they are doing to make the necessary changes. You can read more about the film and see trailers in

I would like to invite you to watch the film in its first ever public screening, so that you can appreciate why I felt compelled to speak up and be interviewed for this film and why I will continue to campaign for justice for vulnerable people.

The screening will take place in our local Phoenix cinema in East Finchley, on Monday 19th March, 6-8.

Linda Edwards

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