Westlands residents take their fight to Stormont

Cookstown 040 president Margaret Gilbert and members pictured prior to their heading to Stormont on Monday morning to meet with Health Minister Edwin Poots and hand over their petition to save Westlands Home. INMM2713-264ar.

Cookstown 040 president Margaret Gilbert and members pictured prior to their heading to Stormont on Monday morning to meet with Health Minister Edwin Poots and hand over their petition to save Westlands Home. INMM2713-264ar.

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RESIDENTS and family members of Westlands Residential Care Home, Cookstown along with UNISON representatives are today taking their petitions to Stormont in a bid to save the home from closure.

Over the past few weeks petitions set up by O4O (Opportunities for Older People) and health union UNISON have been signed by over 5,000 people.

Today (Monday) the groups will descend on Stormont to present their petitions to Health Minister Edwin Poots.

Speaking to the MAIL before leaving for Stormont this morning UNISON joint Branch Secretary Stephanie Greenwood said that they hoped today they could convince Edwin Poots into reversing his policy on homes.

She said: “We hope to achieve that Mr Poots will actually listen to the public, listen to the residents and staff of Westlands and other homes across N.Ireland and reverse his non-admission policy into these homes, start reinvesting money back into them and halt the closures which have not gone away.”

When the groups arrive at Stormont this morning, they are planning a small symbolic march from Carson’s column to Parliament Buildings.

Inside Stormont the delegation will give a presentation to the Minister which includes a speech from 92-year old Westlands Resident Jean Faulkner as well as Mrs Sheena Costello who will speak on behalf of the residents relatives.

UNISON will also give a presentation to the Health Minister followed by questions and answers back and forth to the Minister.

UNISON representative Stephanie Greenwood also told the MAIL about a symbolic presentation they intend to make.

She said: “As it is the 65th anniversary of the National Health Service (NHS) on Friday, we have a large birthday card which we intend to ask all the MLA’s to sign and asking them to be champions of the Residential Homes and support trying to keep them open and trying to get money reinvested in them. So we hope that they will pledge to that today (Monday 1st).”