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Date: Tue 11 November 2014

‘Cuts cost lives’ says UNISON – campaigners lobby Glasgow City Council over savage cuts to mental health charity

PHOTO/MEDIA OPPORTUNITY: Wednesday, 12 November at 12.45pm, George Square

Staff, service users, community groups and members of the public will gather in George Square tomorrow (Wednesday) to lobby Glasgow City Council over its plans to cut a charity’s funding by 40%.

The scale of these savage cuts are likely to force Glasgow Association for Mental Health (GAMH) – which receives nearly all of its funding from the council – to close, risking the lives of hundreds of vulnerable adults across the city.

Chrissy McKeag, a project worker at GAMH, said:
“We provide essential support - emotional, social and practical - to those who experience mental health difficulties across Glasgow.
The support we offer transforms people’s lives and helps to prevent them from developing problems that are likely to require costly help and support from statutory services such as health, housing and criminal justice. Savage cuts of this level will leave Glasgow’s most vulnerable with nowhere to turn and end up costing the city much more in the long run.”

One service user, Lorna Cosh, from Glasgow, said:
“After suffering from a serious illness I was at a real low point in my life and I was contemplating suicide – I felt my life was over.
I got referred to GAMH and they have brought me back to who I was. I am now on the right medication and I am stronger than before. I still need support but I am taking steps; baby ones at first but now big steps. I just feel more reconnected and I now have a purpose in life. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the help and support of GAMH.”

Deborah Dyer, regional organiser for UNISON Scotland, said:
“This is yet another attack on the most vulnerable people of the city and it really is a matter of life and death for some of these people. The sad reality is cuts cost lives and the council will have blood on its hands if it goes ahead with these plans. Saving GAMH is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes economic sense as every pound spent with the charity saves the public purse £5.”

ENDS

NEWS and PICTURE EDITORS: PHOTO/MEDIA OPPORTUNITY

1. You are invited to send a photographer, reporter and/or crew to attend the lobby which will take place at 12.45pm on Wednesday, November 12, in George Square, Glasgow.

2. The demo is being held ahead of the Council’s Health and Social Care Policy Development Committee that is being held at 1.30pm the same day.

3. Case studies of service users who have been helped by GAMH are available on request. Both staff and service users will be available for interview on the day. To arrange an interview please contact Trisha Hamilton or Danny Phillips, UNISON’s communications officer, on 0141 342 2877.

For further information please contact:

Deborah Dyer, UNISON’s regional organiser, on 07538 101 225.
Trisha Hamilton, UNISON’s communications officer, on 0141 342 2877


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