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Tooting care charity campaigns to keep council contract

Tooting care charity campaigns to keep council contract

  

The Tooting community, together with people across Wandsworth, are campaigning for long-established care charity Mushkil Aasaan to keep their home care contract with Wandsworth Council.

The Mushkil Action campaign group has formed to fight this decision. It is asking Wandsworth Council to recognise the continuing need for a specialist care service and to allow Mushkil Aasaan to continue to provide culturally sensitive services as a Specialist Provider across the whole borough.

A public meeting will be held at Mushkil Aasaan on Monday 3 December. On Wednesday 5 December there is a full council meeting, which is expected to finalise the contract decisions. Mushkil Action will be arranging a protest at the Town Hall and asking councillors not to approve the decision, to give proper consideration to the equality impacts of not having specialist care provision, and to continue to contract separately for this work as it has done for many years.

Naseem Aboobaker is founder and manager of Mushkil Aasaan and now chair of Mushkil Action. She said, “Mushkil Aasaan has decades of experience and particular expertise with the Asian community in Tooting. I fear that without this service we risk estranging and disadvantaging our most vulnerable family, friends and neighbours. I think the council has made a mistake in ceasing to offer specialist care, but it is not too late to put right. I hope it will reconsider its decision and the impact it will have on our diverse community.”

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, MP for Tooting said, “Mushkil Aasaan is a real asset to the local community and provides much needed care and support to families in need. 

“For 25 years, it has provided culturally sensitive and compassionate care right across Wandsworth through its commitment to diversity, employment of over 100 people and as a hub for some of the most vulnerable people in the local area.

“The services Mushkil Aasaan provide and the wide range of community groups that use the facilities are testament to the hard work of Naseem and her team over the years. It is vital that Mushkil Aasaan are allowed to continue to provide this essential service.”

A council spokesman said: “The council is currently involved in a procurement exercise to commission homecare services when the existing arrangements expire in June 2019. A final decision on this has not yet been reached.

“We are aware that one local group that bid for the contract has been sharing information about this live procurement exercise. Until the final decision is reached the council is not legally permitted to comment in detail on these matters but whatever the outcome we are sure this group will continue to thrive and continue to win contracts and support vulnerable people not just in Wandsworth but also in the other boroughs where they operate. They will also be able to continue to offer their services to their existing clients, and new ones too, via the Direct Payments system which gives people the choice of who provides their home care.”

Mushkil Aasaan is a not-for-profit organisation and registered charity. In 1993, it established an outreach grassroots women’s organisation to address the needs of the wider Asian communities in Tooting and Balham. They provide around 100,000 hours of care per year. 

Many of Mushkil Aasaan’s clients are older and disabled, have learning disabilities, need end-of-life care, or live with dementia, whilst others are children and young adults.

Mushkil Aasaan also acts as a community space for many activities and projects for the local community including Restart Parties (mending electrical goods), sustainability events with Transition Town Tooting and planning for the area’s future with Tooting Bec and Broadway Neighbourhood Forum.

The Care Quality Commission rates Mushkil Aasaan as ‘good’ across all its areas, meaning its service performs well and meets its expectations as safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

You can find out more about the campaign on their website and follow them on Twitter.

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