Letters, Wednesday, March 11, 2016

Have your say

Working to get back on track

FOLLOWING the article in the Echo entitled Dark Ages of Drug Support (March 2) regarding failures in the treatment system, I would like to point out that prior to the system changes in 2013, Sunderland was rated as being in the top 20 services in the country for substance misuse, with one of the lowest death rates in the country – a huge achievement and a base for further improvement.

 Within nine months of changes to the system we are now ranked as being in the worst in the country.

 This had nothing to do with budget cuts, but was a direct result of the failing of Turning Point – the lead delivery agency – to deliver the services they were commissioned to provide, and which were highlighted in detail in last summer’s independent report.

 Significant concerns have been raised regarding safeguarding with major delays in waiting lists – often running to months.

 We have tried to support and improve the system over the past 18 months, and the report specifically stated that there were no criticisms, whatsoever, of our service.

 This gives us no pleasure – the people of Sunderland deserve better, and we will continue to work with the council to improve services and get Sunderland back into the top 20.

John Devitt,

Chief Executive,

Counted4 CIC

Planning is key to success of ferry

AT last we have an idea that makes financial sense as well as something that will be of great benefit to every one who visits the Tall Ships when they arrive on the river Wear.

 Can I just add that we must think and plan every detail before we submit the plans for backing, look at all possibilities and then agree not on the cheapest or most expensive plan but one that will work.

 Why not have a look at the Shields Ferry and see how it works and then improve on it, but please, please, don’t dive into the first hairy, fairy idea that springs to mind ( like the car park on the Vaux site ) and there are many more that can be mentioned.

 Here is hoping it all goes well.

John Carden

Players cannot claim overwork

HOW ironic that on the day Sunderland could have been playing Reading (had they beaten mighty Bradford in round five) at home in the FA Cup quarter final with a Wembley semi-final to look forward to had we won, Gus Poyet was quoted on the back page of the Echo (March 7) as saying “I think the players need a rest away from football”.

 These privileged, highly remunerated professional sportsmen, who continually let down the most loyal supporter base in football, can hardly claim to be overworked, seeing as they are out of both domestic Cup competitions and also the recipients of many free weekends due to international breaks.

 Poyet should reflect on this – had he not played a weakened team at Hull last season in the FA Cup sixth round we may have won and gone to Wembley again to face division one team Sheffield United in the semi-final, therefore having a great chance to reach the final.

 This season, with many of the top premiership teams eliminated, his Sunderland side succumbed to a Bradford team, playing in the process without confidence, genuine passion or tactical nous.

 That display was an insult to a huge travelling support who were embarrassed and ashamed by what they witnessed.

 So with a chance to get to Wembley four times in two seasons, we throw chances away to play in big games that supporters crave and that give you some of the best memories you can have as a fan.

 Such opportunities for glory are few and far between, Gus.

Tom Lynn