One of the art installations in this year's Lumiere Festival in Durham will become a permanent fixture. Durham County Council has bought the Helvetictoc clock, which tells the time in quirky ways, for £10,000.
The clock should be in place in the city's Millennium Square early in 2014, subject to a planning application.
The current consultation will help the council to understand the views of care home residents, their families and carers, as well as staff and a host of other interested groups and organisations on whether in-house residential care is fit for purpose and value for money.
At a time of significant financial constraints it is right to consider these important questions and to ensure that everybody’s points of view are listened to.
This consultation will be completed with great care and the results will be made public before any final decision is made.
We are organising this lobby of the full council to get across the message that they must take factors other than finance into account. The council really must put compassion before cash. UNISON urges everyone in Durham who cares about the care homes to tell the council what they think, to make it clear that the people of Durham do not want to see these homes closed down.
UNISON's fear is that the council will put financial considerations above all else and go for the option of closing the homes. These establisments are home to frail and vulnerable people, forcing them to move will cause great distress and damage, for some it could even shorten their lives. And the jobs of the 170 staff who care for them are at risk. There will be little chance of finding them other jobs at the council if all the homes do close. The council really must put compassion before cash.
Members of Unison and the GMB union are gathering outside Durham's County Hall to lobby the council over proposals to close five care homes. The unions have invited the families of those who use the care homes to join them. They'll lobby councillors attending a meeting of the full council.