Last month my brother James was served with an eviction notice. Please don't take his home away

James has Down’s Syndrome, but with the help of support workers, he learned to live independently, feeling safe and secure. This is how the cuts are affecting people.

Share

My 25 year old brother James calls me most nights from the home he house shares with a guy his age.  We talk about the usual mundane occurrences that most people update Facebook with; what we’ve eaten for tea, what naughtiness my cat has been up to and he normally tells me about how things have gone at his work that day and what he’s been up to socially (often playing pool or going bowling).

Nothing unusual, right?  All sounds pretty ordinary.  That’s because it is, but ordinary hasn’t always been easy for James. James has Down’s Syndrome and all of his life we have been fighting for his rights to live as independent and fulfilling a life as possible.  My parents fought for the necessary support for James to go through the mainstream education system, worked hard to get him into a college that could improve his independent life skills and thought long and hard about the best place for James to live.  We wanted somewhere he could be independent of us and live with people of a similar age with similar interests – like any other 25 year old – but somewhere he would be safe and happy.

Around 15 months ago James started sharing a house with another young man with Down’s Syndrome and, because James struggles with change, it hasn’t been easy but he has now settled; he feels safe and secure in the place he now knows as home.  He is helped by fantastic support workers, who remind him to take his medication, assist him with doing his washing and are around should anything go wrong.  Care workers have received poor press recently but those who work with James are amazing; we couldn’t have asked for better.  They help James to live as close to being independent as is realistically possible.  We were all very relieved that James had settled somewhere and was happy.

On 30th September James was served with an eviction notice.  Due to government cuts handed down to local councils, the level of support that James is currently receiving is going to be reduced and his support agency no longer feel they can offer a safe service for him - so they are closing down and he has to vacate his home.

After our initial shock and disbelief we decided we wanted to take positive action to try to keep James in his home.  We asked for a meeting with David Cameron, who is James’ MP, and we set up a Change.org petition asking Oxfordshire County Council to reverse their decision.  We hoped to get 1,000 signatures before meeting with David Cameron on Friday, 18 October and to raise a bit of awareness about how cuts are affecting people like our family.  However the level of support we have received has been overwhelming – we are currently have excess of 60,000 signatures in five days - and we have been touched by messages of support from around the country.

We have heard of others in similar situations to James and some who, unlike him, don’t have a close family to fight for their rights to live an ordinary life.  One of the messages from the petition signers pointed out the important lesson that “a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable”. I absolutely believe this to be the case and so we hope to use our campaign #JusticeForJames to show David Cameron how callously these cuts are affecting people right on his own doorstep.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Copywriter / Direct Response Copywriter

£20k plus sales linked bonus. : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Copywriter to j...

Recruitment Genius: Accounting Technician

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has bec...

Guru Careers: 3D Creative Designer

Up to £26k DOE: Guru Careers: A Junior / Mid-Level 3D Creative Designer is nee...

Recruitment Genius: Ecommerce Website Digital Marketing Manager - Fashion / Retail

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You'll be joining a truly talen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Michelle Mone attends the annual Serpentine Gallery summer party at The Serpentine Gallery on June 26, 2013 in London, England.  

Michelle Mone made millions selling bras and now dares to enter the House of Lords - what would Lord Sewel and Alan Sugar say?

Kate Maltby
Jeremy Corbyn could be about to pull off a shock victory over the mainstream candidates Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall (AFP/Getty)  

Win or lose, Corbyn will set the agenda unless Labour speaks up

Isabel Hardman
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen