Judith Waters
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Judith Waters, a resident of Maybole, has come up with a  plan which could be of mutual benefit to the community and to disabled people in and around Maybole.

Judith's son, Michael, needs 24 hour support. After leaving school two years ago, he tried out the traditional mode of "day care" at a centre for adults with Learning Disabilities.

Recently through consultation with South Ayrshire Council, Michael has been awarded the financial opportunity to become an employer. This enlightened approach by the Council will enable Michael to select and pay for his own Personal Assistants.

The "Direct Payment" scheme pioneered by the Scottish Executive will increase Michael's choice and control over daily activities and life. Michael and his mum would like his P.A.s to come from within his own community, rather than using "Care Agency" staff, recruited outwith Maybole. Judith explains that Michael can pay for care support for twenty hours per week if enthusiastic individuals within the community come forward for selection.

Judith feels strongly that there is often a missing element in Care in the Community as it can be so difficult for Social Services and local Councils to engage the community at grass roots level.

She believes that the local community accepting responsibility for caring for local needs is the secret of realistic success for Care in the Community.

Can Maybole lead the way ahead in this area as it has in many others. The very successful community web site www.maybole.org may be a tool which could be used to make the community aware of local needs as well as the press. The Maybole Carers' Forum can identify other community needs but would welcome support from the community.

May-Tag Ltd, the training provider situated in the Castle, Signposts and Maybole Community Development Group are working with Judith to try and raise awareness of the situation in the community and to identify people who may be interested in working with her and Michael.

Judith also has a vision of a learning centre which could accommodate the special requirements of disabled clients and allow them to engage with life long learning.  A lot of funding would be required but indications are that the Government is currently planning to support the rights of people like Michael and Judith to have the same opportunities as the rest of us to access learning.

If anyone would like to have more information about working for and with Michael, or about Maybole Carer's Forum, they should contact Ellen Hawkes at 01655 883765, Peter Walker at 01655 884022, Gerry Ferrara at 882377 or Judith herself at 01655 884474