Dialect – Meditation group Falun Gong tortured in China

plus Rita Lynch on Bush Residential Unit cuts in Hengrove

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Rita Lynch is a Bristol singer and songwriter who comes in this week to tell us about the planned closure of Bush Residential Unit in Hengrove where her son Jimmy goes once a week. Mayor George Ferguson has the final decision on whether or not the service is cut but Rita wants everybody to know how terrible this will be for the centre’s disabled children and their parents.

Read on for the details of this week’s show…

Alex Joseph is a volunteer at Falun Gong in Bristol which is a form of Chinese self-discipline and meditation not unlike Taekwondo with several groups around the city. He explains how he came to meet others in the group and what it has done for his spiritual as well as physical health.

Alex explains that in China Falun Gong has grown fast and when, in the 1990s, it became larger than the communist party the Chinese government began to persecute, arrest and torture the members of the group, even attacking them while they are meditating in the park before work!

China’s Falun Gong crackdown: ‘Persecution has become secretive’

Elia Pablo takes a look at Facebook once again with another ‘experiment’ they have been doing on their unwitting users, this time by promoting positive or negative stories on peoples’ timelines to see how the users behave and how their day to day mood is changed. They found it had a marked effect on people but these people were unwitting Guinea Pigs and this is totally unethical and a potential violation of their human rights. We discuss Peter Thiel who is a founder of PayPal and a financier of Facebook, a man behind two powerful internet giants.


Bush residential centre ‘provides our only taste of normal life’

By The Bristol Post | Posted: May 08, 2014

ANNETTE Randall’s grandson is crippled by cerebral palsy and austism. Every day, she has to dress, feed and wash Josh. The 53-year-old loves him, of course.

But the relentless routine makes her feel like she is a prisoner in her own home. Her main source of relief is the Bush residential centre in Hengrove, a lifeline for the many people like Annette who need respite from her exhausting care schedule.

But the council is proposing to half its number of beds from ten to five, making a £250,000 saving in the process.

This announcement has sparked a large protest among the families who rely on the service.
From April 2013 to March 2014, 57 children used the centre.

Josh, 10, a pupil at Merchants Academy in Withywood, attends the Bush centre one night a week.
Annette, from Hengrove, said: “Without that one night a week away from the rigid routine of caring I don’t know if I’d cope. I love him to bits but sometimes I can feel like a prisoner in my own home, meeting his needs without any breaks.”

Annette has looked after Josh since he was born due to his parents suffering from health conditions.
She added:

“The council makes it seem like respite care is easily accessible. In my experience it’s not, I’ve had to fight and beg for it and now I’ve got it I’m not going to let it go without a fight.

“I need that break, without it everything would be even more of a struggle. I am not getting any younger and Josh is growing all the time.

“The staff at the centre are so friendly and they know how to care for the children who all have very different requirements.”

Annie Walker, 53, of Hardenhuish Road, St Anne’s, also relies on the centre. She said the one night every fortnight when her son Liam attends the centre is the ‘only taste of a normal life’ she experiences.
The 14-year-old was born with cerebral palsy which means he requires help with everything from getting dressed to cleaning.

She said:

“I love him but it is hard work. I appreciate all the help I can get. A lot of the parents don’t get any sleep because their child has seizures. The council is trying to save money but if parents have to put their children into care it is going to cost them more in the long run.”

She added without the support of the centre putting children into care was something a few parents she knows could be forced to do.

She said: “The staff really love the children. They do a great job and it is such a relief to know there is somewhere safe I can leave Liam.

“I know there is only a certain amount of money in the pot but this centre really works. I think these children are worth the money.”

A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: “We want to reiterate that disabled children and their families will continue to get their needs met for residential short breaks in Bristol whilst we work together to draft and implement a final plan for all short break services in the city. We are at the consultation stage.

“Families have told us they want greater flexibility and choice but also that they like their current service and so we are aiming to deliver this by increasing the availability of community care, direct payments and other targeted short breaks whilst retaining the majority of our residential provision too.

“The current proposal is to reduce the number of residential short break beds not to end them. This is not about saving money – significant savings are not being made with these proposals – but on reviewing the whole service in order to get the right balance of services both now and in the future.”

The consultation is proposing to reallocate funding by spending less on higher cost residential short breaks and increasing investment in more flexible alternatives such as direct payments and foster-based short breaks.

About 300 children currently receive specialist short breaks.

Currently those receiving specialist overnight services tend to have a fixed pattern of care, a certain number of nights per month. The council say there is a need to enable more flexibility so that services are able to respond better to families’ needs as they change over time. This would mean reducing provision when it is not needed and increasing it at times when a family is feeling particularly stressed or under pressure.

Other forms of respite offered by the council include: Overnight and day service in foster carers home and residential holidays.

The consultation finishes on June 30 for more information visit:



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About dialectradio

Dialect Radio was Bristol’s first weekly internet radio show which was originally webcast in 2002. It broadcasts a mixture of local human interest stories along with analysis of community issues from right to housing to radical history.

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