Sunday, 27 April 2014

Story Forty Three - Window Dressing

In August 2010, the council invited me to a case conference to discuss their plans to move Steven to Wales. This is the meeting that Justice Peter Jackson described as "window dressing". The meeting was putrid but this post is about the good things of that day.

The Get Steven Home had been running about 6 weeks at this point and had amassed about 4000 members. There had been lots of discussion within the group how to mark the day of the conference and it was decided to hold a demonstration outside the Civic Centre. Obviously, most people couldn't get there but two actions were decided for those who couldn't attend. As many people as possible would send an email to the director of social care that morning, asking her her to revisiit their decision - she must have arrived to work to find 2000 emails. And at 2pm that day (the time the meeting started) people would play Mama Mia in tribute to Steven.

Here are the great things of the day:

My sister's partner designed placards with pictures of Steven from our Blackpool holiday.

My friends Shelley and Mark designed the fliers and badges to hand out. (When I reported that on Facebook, I did a typo and wrote "Shelley and Mark turned up with a hundred badgers - I got lots of questions as to what we used the badgers for).

A woman who was the mother of a young autistic boy arrived. It was the school holidays but she had used some of her valuable respite to arrange care for him to enable her to attend the vigil.

Steven's old school caretaker turned up and reminded me that Steven used to serenade him with "Ground Control to Major Tom".

A guy with aspergers arrived and wouldn't let go of my hand until I promised that I wouldn't let them take Steven away. A similar thing had happened to him five years earlier and it took him three years to return to his family.

People from Steven's gym came over and turned the gym foyer into a Get Steven Home event.

Jean, who runs the Mencap Pool, came and took fliers down to the shopping precinct. She even got HMV to play Mama Mia at 2pm.

Two of my clients turned up having read the story in the local paper and said that as I'd helped them, they now wanted to lend their support for me.

The local paper and Private Eye followed up their earlier stories with a report of the day

And hundreds of complete strangers stopped for a chat and to sign the petition.

Amidst all the bleak moments of 2010, it was an oasis of beauty.

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