Tooting community rallies to save specialist care for vulnerable Asians
Concern about the future for people and their families receiving specialist care from Mushkil Aasaan
- Community fears there is no suitable replacement for its unique service
- Wandsworth Council asked to reconsider decision and continue awarding a specialist contract
The Tooting community, together with people needing care across Wandsworth and their families, have been shocked to hear that long established care charity Mushkil Aasaan has lost its home care contract with Wandsworth Council.
The Mushkil Action campaign group has formed to fight this decision. It is asking Wandsworth Council to recognise the continuing need for a specialist care service and allow Mushkil Aasaan to provide culturally sensitive services as a Specialist Provider across the whole borough, as it always has.
A public meeting will be held at Mushkil Aasaan on Monday 3 December. On Wednesday 5 December there is a full council meeting, which is expected to rubber-stamp the contract decisions. Mushkil Action will be arranging a protest at the Town Hall and asking councilors not to approve the decision, to give proper consideration to the equality impacts of not having specialist care provision and to continue to contracting separately for this work as it has done successfully for many years.
Naseem Aboobaker is founder and manager of Mushkil Aasaan and now chair of Mushkil Action. She said: ‘Mushkil Aasaan has decades of experience and particular expertise with the Asian community in Tooting. I fear that without this service we risk estranging and disadvantaging our most vulnerable family, friends and neighbours. I think the council has made a mistake in ceasing to offer specialist care but it is not too late to put right. I hope it will reconsider its decision and the impact it will have on our diverse community.’
Mushkil Aasaan is a not-for-profit organisation and registered Charity. It took up the challenge in 1993 of establishing an outreach grassroots women’s organisation to address the unmet needs of the wider Asian communities in Tooting and Balham. Its management and staff have deep understanding of the faiths, values, customs, languages and diets of the people they serve. They provide around 100,000 hours of care per year.
This year Wandsworth Council decided to change the way it has been providing care for many years. Its new procurement allows no role for a specialist provider like Mushkil Aasaan, instead preferring to award generic care contracts.
The home care contract is Mushkil Aasaan’s main source of income and it may not be able to continue operating without this income. Once it is gone its knowledge, experience and relationships will be very hard to recreate. 80% of the care workers are Wandsworth women, many in employment for the first time, receiving training from Mushkil Aasaan.
The losers in this will be some of the most vulnerable in society: people who are older and disabled, with learning disabilities, needing end-of-life care, living with dementia, and children and young adults.
Mushkil Aasaan translates as ‘making the difficult easier’. It employs around 100 people.
It has been operating in Tooting for 25 years, the last 15 from its current home at 220-222 Upper Tooting Road
Mushkil Action has formed to campaign for Wandsworth Council to reconsider its decision and recognise:
- The importance of a specialist home care service tailored to meet the needs of Tooting’s large Asian community
- The particular value of Mushkil Aasaan as an experienced provider of quality care to that community
Mushkil Aasaan also acts as a community space for many activities and projects for the local community including Restart Parties (mending electrical goods), sustainability events with Transition Tooting and planning for the area’s future with Tooting Bec and Broadway Neighbourhood Forum.
The Care Quality Commission rates Mushkil Aasaan as ‘good’ across all its areas, meaning its service performs well and meets its expectations as safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.
For more information journalists should contact Maurice Mcleod, Maurice@marmosetmedia.com 07904 474 493.