Sarah Owen Visits ARRCC

In the run up to the local County Council Elections local charity ARRCC welcomed Sarah Owen, Paul Barlow and Steve Bassam to their premises at The School Creative Centre in Rye. Sarah and Steve found time in their busy schedules to spend the afternoon with Members, staff and volunteers at ARRCC and ARRCC Elders.

Sarah Owen, prospective Labour Candidate for the next General Election, enjoyed a game of Rummikub with some of the Members, whilst Steve had an in depth conversation with Neil Simmons (a Member and Trustee) who shared his concerns on how the ‘spare bedroom tax’ might affect his budget. They then spent time with the elderly Members at Magdala House joining them for biscuits and tea and sharing in their entertainment. ARRCC (Activities, Respite, Rehabilitation Care Centres) offer 3 services in the Rye and Rother area. As well as their 2 centres in Rye, they now also offer an Independent Living Service, the Laundry service is proving very popular as it’s collected, washed and ironed, and delivered back all for £10.00 !

Sarah Owen at ARRCC playing Rummikub, Lord Bassam of Brighton talking to Neil Simmons.

For any further information please contact: ARRCC on 01797 227 939

Lord Steve Bassam of Brighton, Labour’s Chief Whip in the Lords and a former leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, wrote about his visit in his House of Lords blog.

“ARRCC provides support, training and a stimulating day care environment to people aged 18 to 65 who suffer from a range of disabilities, many of whom are in wheelchairs. Over a hundred Rye residents benefit from the services they provide in a now redundant school building, which the project has transformed into workshops and office space. The activities that users can access are terrific: from tapestry, mural and model making through to learning to fish, garden and horse driving.

On an annual turnover of less than £500,000 and with a mix of full and part time staff plus volunteers, the lives of an otherwise neglected group of wonderful people are made more fulfilling. Sadly the project, like countless others, is suffering from cuts through East Sussex County Council’s budget. ARRCC lost 20% last year, will lose another 20% this year and there is no guarantee of funding being maintained even at standstill in the years to come.

How can it be right that projects targeting the most deprived and most in need of support are being hit so hard? I thought those who could take the strain were to be hardest hit. It seems not.

It was also at ARRCC where I met Neil. He suffers a Sarah Owen, Cassie Young and Neil Simmonds at ARRCC  double whammy. Cuts to the project supporting him and a substantial cut to his income through the dreaded bedroom tax. With severe mobility problems that are only set to worsen, Neil is losing £700 of income for the ‘crime’ of having a specially adapted housing association flat with a small additional room where he stores equipment. It is his home, he doesn’t want to move and he needs the space. He is very angry and doesn’t understand why the government is targeting him and others in a similar position.

     Lord Bassam of Brighton talking to Neil Simmons

Together these individuals and organisations are feeling the brunt of Conservative-driven, Lib Dem-backed cuts to funding and personal incomes. Labour candidates meanwhile, like Mick and Sarah, are campaigning hard to expose the damage being done to people’s lives – lives that the Prime Minister said would be the most protected from the Coalition’s austerity drive.

From the June 2013 issue of” Rye’s Own”

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