20th Aug, 2019

Redditch Para Sporting champion slams County Council after benefits cut

Tristan Harris 12th Oct, 2018 Updated: 12th Oct, 2018

A PARA-sporting champion has slammed Worcestershire County Council after finding her care budget had been slashed while she was competing in the World Games in Spain for Team England.

Leanna Horne who took the gold in the F31 Club Throw at the Sant Cugat Games near Barcelona, logged on to her portal while she was out there to pay the wages of her assistants.

Expecting there to be £2,076 in the account she was horrified to discover there was only £610.

Leanna, the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Redditch Women of Achievement celebration earlier this year, immediately called Worcestershire Social Services to find out what had happened, only to be told her budget had been cut.

She has since learnt that her £744 per week allowance has now been slashed by almost a third to £486.90.

“I was last assessed in January and it was then set at £744 which covered my 36 hours-a-week care and my two hours-a-week athletics.

“Nothing has changed since then so the budget should still be the same.”

The cash also included an allowance for her assistance dog Trudy but that too has been cut.

“They said Trudy was no longer an essential care need but since my allowance has been reduced I have needed her more than ever,” said Leanna.

Leanna, aged 30, grew up in Redditch and attended Arrow Vale School, said what made her really angry was the way the changes had been implemented.

“Legally, if alterations are being made to my budget, they need to consult me first and then draw up a new care plan which needs to be signed by myself, my representative, a social worker and a social care manager.

“None of this has been done.”

The reduction has led to Leanna having to borrow money from her parents leaving her with debts spiralling to £4,025.

“If I get the money they have currently promised, I will be able to clear £1,200 and it will pay for this month’s wages, but I have still got to find my staff’s wages for some of August and September.

“I’m worried if this is happening to me, it is happening to others who may not be so vocal about their situation.”

A Worcestershire County Council spokesperson said: “We’re continuing to liaise with Leanna regarding her ongoing concerns and how we can best support her personal needs going forward.

“Whilst we can’t comment on individual cases, we do take any complaints or concerns raised with us very seriously and we aim to find a solution that will suit both Leanna and the council moving forward.”

Leanna, aged 30, was born with cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair and relies on carers to live an independent life.

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