Worried about cuts to benefits and care support for people like me

MY name is Andrew Pickthall. I am 32 and have Downs Syndrome.

I live in Bognor Regis and I attend Aldingbourne Country Centre near Fontwell.

I am very worried about the cuts West Sussex County Council is making in benefits and care support to people like me.

Two people I know who were re-accessed last week, were both graded ‘substantial’ as I am, yet have lost a lot of their care support.

One friend who also attends Aldingbourne with me, has been told that her care support package is to be cut from £138 per week to just £28.

Another man in Chichester who has been re-assessed as substantial at all levels has been told his weekly funding will be cut from £238 to £141.

My assessment is set for June 2. I am desperately worried. I have been working at the Aldingbourne Country Centre for 14 years. The people who go there are my friends, including the carers who look after us. Aldingbourne is my family. Aldingbourne is my life.

Aldingbourne also looks after me in my flat. The lease for my flat is linked to me receiving care support. If this is cut, I will be homeless without anywhere to go.

What is happening to us? Why is our care support being taken away?

I am disabled and have been since I was born. I cannot get a job.

During the Election, Nick Gibb came to our Drop-in Centre in Bognor and answered a question from my friend Jason, telling him that the cuts would not affect front-line services. The intention he said, was to make savings in the back office.

We have also been told that those with ‘substantial’ needs will not be affected, but this in not the case.

Andrew Pickthall

West Meads, Bognor Regis