Letter re Local Area Coordinators

This is a letter sent to the media with regards the possible demise of the LAC’s. Local Area Coordinators. 

I am writing as Chair of the Brading Residents Association as  I am deeply concerned with regards the proposed cutting of the Local Area Coordinators service.

From my experience and working within the community, I have found this service to be  of the upmost importance.

With residents permission,  I have involved the services of our local coordinator to support residents, some in poor health and having  serious problems which needed resolving.  These people  couldn’t get answers from elsewhere,  and did not even know who to turn to. This service has become a lifeline to many,  because of their  knowledge of what services and support are available. For many, they  just do not have access to this type of information. The coordinators fill this gap. So what happens when this gap is closed? It will impact on other services.

Very recently I have met with  a coordinator whose enthusiasm to help the Old School Cafe here in Brading set  up a crochet cafe, was fantastic. This is in the pipeline with  elderly ladies stating they would be interested. Activities like these are so important, they get residents out of their  homes and mixing,  these  can be people who are living on their own and sometimes see no one, events such as these are a lifeline.

Is this new venture now at risk? Shall these residents now be denied the chance of improving their lives and of having somewhere to visit and make friends? This of course is just one example of which I am aware of, there will be many more!

The Old School cafe in Brading  is proving that there is a need, folks we have never managed to engage with before, are engaging! This improves their health and well being. Loneliness is a killer and  is well documented.

I request that  the IOW councillors do not support the demise of this treasured service. With due respect, I am afraid to say,  those making the decision are probably living in a relationship and do not totally understand the problems of isolation.

There is nothing worse than being alone, with no one to talk to when you need to. What is the old saying ‘ a problem shared is a problem halved’.

Solve this problem and you reduce all the pressures on other services – this is why the LAC’s are so important, so I cannot fully understand the thinking.

We appreciate it is all about money, but the new build and development at the Heights is astronomically expensive and will only benefit  the minority of IOW residents, and in the main, it will only benefit the fit and younger people,  those who already have the ability to deal with life. This again,  will only benefit those who can afford to pay for it!

Then there is the money given to a ‘Poo Museum’ – say no more, please get the priorities right!

The Local coordinators are dealing with those who need help and support, which is quite the opposite scenario to the one at the Heights & Poo Museum!!

In the  main, to Council  need to be seen to be supportive to those in need. As the above two initiatives did not bring many  favourable comments from Council tax payers, please rethink this proposal!

Sue Birch

Chair, Brading Residents Association (BRAG)