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No Accord at Glasgow Commonwealth Games

save the accord demo

What with the focus on London 2012 we don't hear much about the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. But true to mega event form they are having their own negative impacts on some particularly vulnerable Glasgow residents.

On 27th August supporters of the Save the Accord Centre held a demonstration attended by around 500 people. This will be followed by a Glasgow Games Monitor 2014 Event: Whose Legacy? on 21st October, which will include an introductory talk by Libby Porter and Neil Gray, both from Glasgow University, on the Legacy from Mega Events, discussion with carers and the recently evicted Margaret Jaconelli and film shows.

The Accord Centre carers issued the following statement to accompany their demonstration:

“The Accord Centre is a day care centre for people with learning disabilities in the East End of Glasgow. It is being demolished to make way for a bus park for the 11-day long Commonwealth Games in 2014. The carers and service users who rely on the Centre are demanding a like-for-like replacement to keep this much needed service in the East End. A replacement centre promised by Glasgow City Council has now been dropped as part of the overall attack on services for disabled people. Disabled people and their families did not cause this economic crisis and should not have to pay”.

booted by the suited

This earlier update on the situation facing the Accord Centre carers is taken from the GamesMonitor2014 website:

As of yet, they still have not been allocated any premises to replace their old faciltity in Dalmarnock which is making way for a buspark for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. The carers are demanding ‘like-for-like’ replacement for what they have lost, as their children have severe learning difficulties and associated special needs – it is simply not good enough to just fob them off with any old building.

The City Council, meanwhile seem determined to place the carers and service users of the Accord Centre in the Bambury centre in Barrowfield near Parkhead stadium. The Accord Centre management have been taking individual carers up to the centre as a means to convince them this is the correct idea – in fact, the only idea. Aside from the fact that this conduct breaches disability discrimination rights to a proper consultation, the carers were not told by management that other family members could attend the meetings which has had the effect of isolating certain members and making them vulnerable to persuasion.

Tommy, a disability rights organiser who was present at the meeting, argued that the City Council were riding roughshod over the carers. He is currently voluntarily helping the carers with these issues. The Bambury Centre, which is currently a not-for-profit organisation run and managed by the local community, is apparently up for sale, and strong rumours abound that the City Council are the preferred bidders. Meanwhile, East Carers Group, set up to advocate for carers in the area, have been asking for clarification and further meetings with the City Council and have been persistently denied.

We have no doubt the City Council will argue that the offer of the Bambury Centre is sufficient for the carers and their children, and try to suggest that they are just being greedy or akward if they refuse it. This is an old tactic and should be met with the derision it deserves. If the City Council would actually speak to the carers they would understand that the Bambury Centre is just not suitable for children with severe learning disabilities, and is in no way a ‘like-for-like’ replacement for what is being lost at the Accord centre.

What is also very important to note is that shifting the carers and users of the Accord Centre across to the Bambury centre against their will is only going to put more pressure on limited resources at the Bambury Centre, pitting one under-funded community against another. For instance, the carers reported cases of Bambury Centre users who were already being denied access to the centre presently. Adding the Accord Centre users to the mix is only likely to lead to more ‘divide-and-rule’ in the local area, with communities fighting against each other rather than the City Council which has caused the problem in the first place - by capitulating to funding big business and property developers at the expense of local community facilities.

But the Save the Accord Centre campaign isn’t going to take anything lying down. With the help of supporters they will be constituting themselves as a formal group, and they intend to pursue legal action under the disability discrimination act. They will also continue leafletting in the local area and taking part in demonstrations and actions with others in order to raise the profile of their campaign and challenge the media whitewash about the Commonwealth Games.

And as for legacy:

The fact that people with severe learning disabilities and their carers are being treated so abominably right next to the Commonwealth Games Village site is an embarrassment to the City Council and the Scottish government and makes a mockery of the Games Legacy claims.

As Margaret Jaconelli put it when she was evicted: 'Glasgow City Council should be shamed!'

Photo of Accord Demo by Duncan Brown

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