'This will destroy our lives'

February 24, 2011

Anna Horton, 57, has worked at Norwood's Ravenswood village for 22 years, first as a teaching assistant and now as a care worker.

She says the charity's original plan would cut her basic monthly take home pay from £1,100 to £800. If her union cannot negotiate a better deal for her, she will not be able to afford her mortgage. She already works up to 80 hours overtime a month to make ends meet.

But Ms Horton stresses that she is so attached to her job and the vulnerable adults she works with that she will not quit. "The people I take care of are so wonderful. We are like family to them. They are the people I do this for, not the senior management.

"When I wake up in the morning I don't think about the money. Once I've paid the bills then I'm happy. But we need to make the lives good for the people we work with. These people trust me. They are non-verbal but they come up and put their head on my shoulder. That makes me feel a million dollars. It's so wonderful."

She says the impending cuts have been "devastating" for staff. "We told them at the consultation: 'This will destroy our lives.'"

The plan is for her pay to be reduced over a number of years. "If I don't do overtime, I can't eat. At the moment the union is still talking to them and I hope a settlement can be found.

"Of course I do understand there should be cuts. But I'm on my knees. Everybody's so down. Some people have families to support, children with disabilities, and I'm on my own with a mortgage to pay. We're taking our lead from the union but I think it's better to talk and come to an arrangement."

Last updated: 3:02pm, February 24 2011