Night van service axed by council

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DISABLED residents have been dealt a blow after a night-time home help service was axed in a bid to cut costs.

Twenty people in the region, including Bury St Edmunds, Brandon and Mildenhall, will no longer receive visits from Suffolk County Council’s night vans from February 12/13.

The vans provided care between 10pm and 6am throughout the week and residents are now being forced to use alternative services.

Some people have argued that the move will have a negative impact on their health and social life.

Karen Eastley, of Chedburgh, who suffers from MS, will now use the same agency that visits her during the day, but will have to go to bed at 8.30pm due to the hours it operates.

The 44-year-old said: “When I had the night van, it was 10.15pm, so your social life goes.

“I was on the village parish council and that doesn’t finish until 10.30pm, so I’ve had to cancel all that as well.”

Bob Harrington, 62, of Brandon, is waiting to find out who will take on his care needs once the van stops.

He said: “It was one of those services that was beneficial to me and others.

“Some of them might not get care at all now, so who’s looking after them?”

Sarah Moody, of Ousden, is yet to hear if her husband George, who has limited movement following a stroke, will receive a service.

She said: “It’s a terrible shame as it’s one of the cuts that shouldn’t be happening.

“It isn’t just my husband but other people who need help during the night.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said the night van was costly to run and only served parts of the county.

He added: “Everyone who currently receives the night service has an individual review worker who has been working with the customer and with colleagues from health and the independent sector to identify ways of meeting the needs of individual customers.

“More than half of staff working within the service have already found alternative employment both within the county council as well as with other organisations. We continue to support the remaining staff.”