Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Your Choice Barnet week - How would you feel in my situatuon - By Phillip Rackham

By Phillip Rackham,

“My name is Phillip Rackham, and I want to tell you about myself. I’m 52 years old and live alone in a flat in Whetstone. I’ve lived in the borough of Barnet all my life. I have cerebral palsy and a mild learning disability. When I was younger, I was abused physically and mentally for being like I was. When I was 34, I moved out of my mother’s house into a residential home. I then lived in different places, until I moved into a ground floor flat, where I’ve lived for eleven years. In 2001 I got married to Susie, who also had a disability. None of my family came to the wedding. Sadly Susie died in 2005, and I’ve lived alone ever since then. I used to be able to get about quite well, with no problems, mainly using buses. But a couple of years ago I was knocked down by a car, and broke my hip. Since then it has been very difficult for me to get about at all, and I have to rely on other people for transport. That means I have to spend a lot of time in my flat, on my own. So I’ve had a very difficult life. 

(Phillip Rackham addresses Barnet Council Safeguarding committee)

But I’m a FIGHTER. I’ve joined a lot of different organisations that have helped me stick up for myself, such as CADDSS, BAPS, Peoples’ Choice and Barnet Mencap. They have all helped me to become more confident, and stand up for the rights of disabled people. But the Council isn’t helping much. I don’t think they give a DAMN about disabled people, just like the government. I get Direct Payments, but they’re not enough. I think that councillors probably get more, just for coming to meetings. The Council doesn’t give me enough money for all the care and support that I have to have, such as cooking and cleaning of my flat, and also for getting about as much as I want and need. 

I used to go to BILS (Barnet Independent Living Service) which is run by Your Choice Barnet, but when I became a volunteer receptionist there, my transport was taken away, so I can’t afford to go there any more. I really used to enjoy the company I had at BILS, and I get quite lonely without it. It was an important part of my social life. Barnet don’t want the responsibility of looking after disabled people. That’s why they set up Your Choice, so they wouldn’t have to bother any more. In the end, all that it’s about is MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, which seems to be more important than caring for people. That’s why I wanted to say all this today. I’d like to finish with a question to the councillors: How would YOU feel if you were in my situation?”
Phillip Rackham is a Barnet resident. The above blog is the speech he gave to the Barnet Council Safeguarding committee. Guest Blogs are always welcome. 

No comments: