Wiltshire's public meetings on their next budget are not helpful for many in this area

Written by Jan Thornton on .

I understand via the internet that a number of meetings have been organised by Wiltshire Council Leader Jane Scott to allow the public to add their comments on the new budget's financing of social care and possible cuts.  Unfortunately none of the locations are accessible to many of us in the north east of the county.

It would take the best part of two hours travelling on public transport to attend them. With the promise of another two hours to get home, a total of four hours travelling which is impossible for many of us to even consider, especially during the winter months.

Trowbridge, Devizes and Chippenham might as well be on another planet.

Wiltshire's reports on elderly care make it very clear transport and lack of access to the internet are a serious problem for many of the elderly in rural Wiltshire - both of which contribute to social exclusion, isolation and rural poverty.

Many of us feel excluded from the process relating to our 'care'. In our immediate community we have raised issues, held meetings and attended meetings with Wiltshire Council representatives together with their selected 'care providers' and residents.  But there has never been any feed back, NOTHING has ever come of our efforts relating to 'care'.

We are possibly the most vocal and resilient independent group of pensioners within the county. If we feel excluded, if we no longer have any faith in their openness and sincerity one must ask:  How do truly isolated individuals feel? Have they too given up?

How can our voices be heard when the report written by an independent Consultant on the delivery of care provision is withheld from public access and our evidenced concerns regarding the delivery of 'care' is dismissed or ignored?
Wiltshire has an inclusion policy, the questions are:  How can Wiltshire include the most vulnerable 10,000+ pensioners in this County?  How can the Wiltshire Council regain our trust?

Holding meetings that we cannot attend is not the way forward, it simply compounds our isolation.

Jan Thornton
Great Bedwyn