A group of 25 clients from Omnicare Community Services along with staff will be making the 118 mile journey to London this morning in the hope of bringing to the attention of central government their fight to keep this essential service open.
The latest development in two year campaign to keep the only community based service in the city going.
The council wrote to the service to say that no further funding will be made available to continue their work after September 2009 even though no plans have been made to replace them.
In the covering letter on the petition which will be handed in to Downing Street at 12.30 this afternoon, the clients at Omnicare say how staff have shown care beyond their contractual obligations in caring for them and bring to light the fact that this client group have been the last to be considered in the move to axe this service.
The consequences on the closure of this service would have a devastating impact on one of society’s most vulnerable groups, undoing a lot of the hard work of Omnicare Community services.
‘Most of the clients would go back and live in isolation, have relapses and end up back on psychiatric wards if we are forced to close.
It is likely that some of the men would end up in prison. A lot of them have kept well because of the support of the organisation, if we see signs of someone starting to become unwell we have been able to intervene early, and this is why the church group set up this organisation 26 years ago. If we close this will happen again’, Jackie Mclean manager of Omincare Community Service said.
‘It is unfortunate that the client should have to go to parliament on the eve of World Mental Health Day in a bid to keep essential services open. Birmingham City Council appears to have completely overlooked the impact that closing down their city’s only black led service will have on those who need this specialist kind of care. We hope that the Government will intervene in this case,’ Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK said.
‘Over the two year process while this was going on we have never once been consulted about the decision to close our service. It is very upsetting and I know that this whole thing is making people ill again. We are hoping that the Government will listen to us because if Omnicare has to shut down, there will be nowhere else for us to go,’ service use and group administrator Jacqueline Forrester said.