Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cuts and Crisis Meetings

With momentum building up to the public sector strike on November 30th, there's are couple of big events coming up locally:

Goldsmiths Assembly of Resistance

'Goldsmiths Assembly of Resistance: We are the 99%' will take place on Thursday November 17th, 6:30pm - 9:30pm in the Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre (Whitehead Building) at Goldsmiths College in New Cross.

The meeting has been called by staff and student unions (Goldsmiths UCU, Goldsmiths SU, Goldsmiths GMB) as well as Coalition of Resistance and Education Activist Network. It will feature a 'mixture of speakers and assemblies and working groups to build for the 30th November and continue the fight against austerity, in universities and also across the public sector'.

Speakers include:

- Ken Loach, filmmaker;
- Owen Jones, author of "Chavs - the demonisation of the working class";
- Seamus Milne, Guardian journalist.

(Facebook event details here)

No Cuts Cabaret

The No Cuts Cabaret takes place on Thursday 24 November (7 - 9 pm) at the Rivoli Ballroom, 350 Brockley Road, Crofton Park. Hosted by the unions Unite and Unison, the event will feature music, comedy and speakers including Labour London mayoral candidate, Ken Livingstone (who was incidentally spotted drinking in the Royal Albert in New Cross on Monday after a meeting in Deptford).

The main focus of the event is on cuts to frontline child mental health services in Lewisham. According to Unite:

'Already this financial year, there has been nearly £500,000 of cuts – with more expected in the next two years. Other cuts to children and young people's services in Lewisham have included the ending of the Connexions service which provides advice on employment issues for 16-to-19 year olds.

Unite regional officer, Richard Munn said: ‘A Save the Children study revealed that one in five of children in Lewisham live in poverty which itself brings adverse impacts on child mental health. Early intervention in childhood helps prevent longstanding problems in adulthood. The evening we are staging is aimed at bringing the whole community together to highlight these pernicious cuts and give a morale boost for the campaigners in the fight to save even more services under threat.’

Cuts by South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and Lewisham Borough Council have already totalled almost £500,000 this financial year (20011/2012) for Lewisham Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), which is based at Kaleidoscope, Lewisham Park and Mercia Grove.  The axe followed budget reductions from Lewisham Borough Council and NHS Lewisham (formerly Lewisham Primary Care Trust). More cuts, as yet unspecified, are planned in the next two years.

Services affected have included the schools’ service, CAMHS social workers, forensic services, refugee and asylum seekers, and looked after children. A number of longstanding and very experienced staff have been forced to leave the service. This was a reduction of almost 25 per cent of the entire service and will lead to fewer frontline workers and longer waiting lists for children and young people. This was an essential service which was commended in various government inspections'.

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