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Community living is great, but not for all

I WORKED, for many years, both at the Stockton Centre and in group homes in the community.

I felt proud to have been with the first group of people to leave Stockton through the Richmond Scheme, and praised this move to all who would listen.

SAFE AND SECURE: Not all residents have the skills to leave places such as the Stockton Centre and move into the community, says reader Gail Anderson.

Most of these people were so happy to be living in the community, and some of them blossomed.

As more group homes opened, I observed that not all these people were gaining anything positive from the move, no matter how hard the staff tried to make this so.

Some who were able tosafelywander around the Stockton Centre on their ownwere unable to independently do so in the community, due to a lack of skills and familiarity of the area –until a staff member couldtake them out. Hardly an empowering experience for the clients.

Yes, at times, there wereextra staff available, but nowhere near enough to provide the freedom of movement outside the home that you and I are lucky enough to have.

By leaving the centre, some people lost what independence they had, lost contact with their friends, and lost an environment they were comfortable to live in.I think community living is wonderful for those who are able to use all it has to offer, but a loss for those who do not have the skills to do so.

Do not think that thestaff are looking after their own needs when they show concern about the shutting down of these centres –theyknow, andcarefor, the needs of the clients.

Maybe it’s too late,but I would like to think compassion and commonsense will prevail.

Gail Anderson,MarylandForgiveness and freedomI BELIEVE GlenCoulton (“Don’t worry, be happy” Letters 29/12) misses the point of (Stan Melodonis-Kolivas (“Stealing the Season” Letters 26/12).

Glen may not be aware of the unexpected personal peace that comes from acknowledging ones’ failure to measure up to our creator’sstandard of goodness and by accepting his forgiveness which is available because of the work of the one whose birth we celebrate on December 25.

With that forgiveness comes a new life and purpose, with the freedom to do what is right,even if it does not make the person richer or more popular.

Such people have been known to make significant contributions to society.

Alton Bowen,WallsendBURNING ISSUE OF TREESWHILE agreeing with Tom Edwards’ recommendations for water-based protection for dwellings in bushfire-prone areas, there are even more basic steps that can be taken avoid such fires (“More homesburn …whenwillwelearn” Letters 31/12).

Footage of the devastated areas in Victoria clearly shows the close proximity of eucalypt trees.Oil given off when the leaves of the eucalypt burns at an extremely high temperature – one may as well have an open can of petrol close at hand.

State, or even federal, planning laws are required to limit the proximity of such trees to dwellings. Failure to comply should carry a heavy fine.

This may mean more work for the state authorities,but measure that against the high cost of fighting the fires, the cost of housing and together with the dangers into which such fires place our firefighters.

Insurance premiums for are mostly “holiday homes”, should take into account the proximity of all trees, and the fact that many of the dwellings are not continually occupied – which in turn invariably leads to lack of maintenance, blocked gutters, and the like.

Failure to fully cover the insurance of dwellings should not be compensated, especially those with houses in close proximity to eucalypts, or supported by higher premiums for others who, wisely, do cover the cost of such insurance.

Brian Yare,KahibahVACCINATE THE NATIONCHRISTMAS morning started out as most others did – kids prancing around the Christmas tree, rushing to open presents.

That changed when my grandson, 18-month-old Michael, was irritable, and it seemed he had broken out in a heat rash.

As an old-timer, I said it“looks like the measles”.I was laughed as measles are nolonger in the community.

Michael got a little worse and he was taken off to hospital, before being sent backhome with a “virus”.He was still unwell in the afternoon was taken back to the hospital. Sure enough, the hospital tested him and it was the measles.

The NSW department of health were notified and everyone seemed shocked.

It seemed the anti-vaxers had let another kid fall through the net of common sense.

Michael, at 18 months, has not yet been fully vaccinated.It was thoughthe picked the measles up at a Wiggles concert. In my view the parents of the contagious child at that concert must be imbeciles. They probablybelong to the “let’s get our kids sick”brigade who don’t vaccinate.

Poor young Michael spent seven or so days suffering in what isapparently a measles-free age.

Don’t anti-vaxers realise they are making not only their kids sick, but other kids too?

Robert Irvin,Anna BayWHERE DID WE GO WRONGAS we enter another year, it is timely to reflect on how much of the past will contribute to the wisdom of today.

Remember when the average family could afford a modest house and car, and wives and mothers went to work by choice not necessity?

Remember when we could spontaneously jump on public transport and buy a ticket for a safe and timely journey?

Remember when our trips to work and journeys on highways did not require prior financial arrangements that included paying for additional future journeys that may never be made?

Remember when supermarkets had sufficient staff to provide convenient, timely and knowledgeable service?

Remember when an inquiry to a service provider went directly to a person employed by and knowledgeable in the business of that service provider?

Where did we go wrong, what happened to all the people who lost jobs due to these changes and are we to see a continuing erosion of person-to-person services?

John Peter Reeves,Belmont North

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