I attended an eventful (open public) meeting at Bristol Centre for Deaf People (BCDP) on Friday night. Am not going to do a ‘report’, impossible, cos so much happened, but this is my brief ‘tweets’ timeline as a way of summary:
6.05pm: Meeting opens: Chair outlines Council cuts and the effect they will have on Bristol Deaf Centre and services
6.20pm: Deaf members request BSL translation of statement from Bristol City Council’s Health and Social Care dept before discussion continues
6.35pm: Statement suggests a key reason for cutting services is due to BCDP poor management, that Board denies
6.50pm: Ideas for future of Centre put forward by the BCDP CEO, rejected as ‘far too late’
7.00pm: Heated, passionate debate fires off between members from floor and Board, tensions running high
7.10pm: Centre of anger is on Board management’s failure in last few years to act to secure future of BCDP
7.15pm: Several members from the floor critical of the Board’s management, ‘they had been left with a mess but failed to clean it up’
7.20pm: Board have totally lost the meeting but continue to strongly defend their actions, strenuously denying any wrongdoing
7.30pm: Debate continues to be highly charged, personal attacks, inappropriate public naming of people, pleas for calm
7.35pm: Board starts to try to end the meeting
7.40pm: Floor wants to keep meeting going, bitter dissatisfaction expressed towards Board’s behaviour
7.45pm: Board Chair formally closes the meeting and entire Board walks off the stage!
7.50pm: Deaf members urge a break in proceedings for passions to calm
8.15pm: Informal meeting (of majority of those present but minus the Board) reconvenes to discuss the situation
8.30pm: Meeting discusses its options within the constitution and draws up a list of issues to be discussed at a future Emergency meeting
9.00pm: Meeting closes.
One thing is for sure: the meeting ain’t the end of the matter, and further developments can be expected in coming days and weeks ahead.