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Anger after Sheffield charity axed

Adam Butcher, who has learning disabilities, fears for the future of Sheffield's advocacy services

Adam Butcher, who has learning disabilities, fears for the future of Sheffield's advocacy services

The lives of thousands of vulnerable adults could be plunged into chaos when Sheffield Council cuts a support service, campaigners have warned.

People with learning disabilities say they are frightened they will ‘lose their voice’.

Others fear will get lost in the system when a city advocacy contract is scrapped.

Social care bosses confirmed they are terminating the contract with current service provider - mental health charity Mencap - this week.

The move has sparked anger among those who rely on the advocacy service and led to a showdown at Sheffield town hall.

Mencap has warned that with no new provider lined up, waiting lists will increase and crisis cases will not get dealt with.

Adam Butcher, aged 30, of Greenhill, who suffers from learning disabilities said: “There are a lot of people who cannot stick up for themselves and struggle with everyday things and decision-making.

“That is where advocacy helps.

“We are all happy with Mencap but we have not been consulted on this.

“I feels like we are not having a voice.”

At a meeting of the Learning Disability Partnership Board last October council workers let slip they had been in talks with another provider - Cloverleaf - to take over.

It sparked suspicion Mencap’s advocacy service could be lost and this week’s announcement has attracted criticism for a lack of consultation with those directly affected.

Ed Sexton, Learning Disability Partnership Board manager, said: “I don’t know what is happening after April, it is a matter for the decision-makers.

“Any change requires a handover period.”

The topic will be discussed when the Learning Disability Partnership board meets on February 27.

 

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