People rally to support disabled woman speaking out against cuts

jpco-26-9-12 Julie-Anne Baker (Pic by Jon Rigby)

jpco-26-9-12 Julie-Anne Baker (Pic by Jon Rigby)

People from across the country have offered support to a blind woman from Crawley after she appeared on television about cuts to social care.

Julie Ann Baker from Broadfield had congenital rubella when she was born causing total blindness and deafness.

She relies on others to do simple tasks such as checking food for expiry dates or mould, reading post and cleaning.

In West Sussex County Council’s first round of cuts to care for disabled people, she lost all her support and with no family only has her partner Paul to help her. He lives on the other side of Crawley, an hour-and-a-half on the bus journey away.

Before Christmas the council agreed to make further cuts of £146m over the next four years. To raise awareness of how this might affect people Miss Baker, 52, appeared on national television news.

Her story moved people so much, the Don’t Cut Us Out Campaign, which has supported her case received calls from across the country offering money to help her. One donation was £500.

Miss Baker said: “I was overwhelmed. I was almost crying. I didn’t do it for the money. I did it to make a point. I couldn’t believe it. I nearly dropped the phone. I will use it for home care. It’s not cheap.”

Before the first round of cuts, carers helped her with daily tasks.

She said: “When you are blind you need to know how much bread you have got, you need to know the expiry dates for milk, eggs, anything with an expiry date. I just go for pot luck and hope it’s not gone off.

“The lady who went shopping with me used to describe things saying, ‘Do you want this size?’ Because of a back problem they use to come in and vacuum, clean the kitchen floor and change the bedding.

“The (guide) dog needs to go out at least twice a week. It’s all basic stuff.”

She said the council officers and councillors should put themselves in her shoes.

“I just wish you could blindfold them and make them realise how hard it is. People who aren’t blind can get in a car and go somewhere. We can’t.

“They should stop targeting the wrong people and help people who really need it.”




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