As many of you will know, Derbyshire County Council is currently running a consultation about the future of Hazelwood Care Home in Cotmanhay.
Let me be clear: I do not believe, under any circumstance, that Hazelwood should close.
This is our last remaining local authority care home here in Ilkeston, and I not only want to see it refurbished but expanded to take into account the inevitable future demand.
For far too long Hazelwood has, in my view, been neglected, with the previous Labour administration failing carry out vital repairs in order to keep residents safe and warm.
Sadly the county council now faces some tough decisions, but I do not agree that shutting the home is the right course of action.
The nature of the community in Cotmanhay means that people do not always have the ability to travel long distances to visit their loved ones, which makes Hazelwood even more vital.
That is why I am meeting the government minister responsible for social care this week, to make the case for a phased programme of refurbishment of the home backed by government, including the conversion of the disused day care wing into more bedrooms.
In the mean time, I would urge residents to contribute to the county council’s consultation, which closes on December 14, and sign the public petition to save Hazelwood, copies of which are available from my community office.
In last week’s ‘Tiser, the government’s new system of Universal Credit came under scrutiny as it is now due to be rolled out across Chesterfield. The fact is that in Erewash the successful role out of Universal Credit has already taken place and so a pause would not affect claimants living locally.
Like me, local residents believe in a comprehensive system of welfare which acts as a safety net for when people most need it.
However, the majority of residents also agree that it should never pay more to people for them to live a life on benefits than it does to go to work.
In addition, the Job-Centre has reassured me that it feels Universal Credit is a significant improvement to the way in which welfare payments have previously been administered and explained how the changes are already having a positive impact on their clients.
If, however, any Erewash resident is in receipt of Universal Credit and they are having a specific issue, then I would urge them to get in contact with me as I would be more than happy to make representations on their behalf.
As ever, I can be contacted by post at Unit 2, The Old Co-Op, South Street, Ilkeston DE7 5SG, by email at email@example.com or telephone on 0115 930 0521.
Residents are also welcome to visit my community office at the above address. Alternatively surgery appointments can be made by contacting my office.