New hope for axed cen­tres

Five-month re­prieve for day ser­vices

Paisley Daily Express - - Front Page - Chris Tay­lor

Fam­i­lies plead­ing for day cen­tres to be saved have been told they will re­main open for al­most five months.

Cam­paign­ers want the Ca­pa­bil­ity Scot­land ser­vices to run af­ter it pulled the plug due to lack of funds.

Ren­frew­shire Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship (RHSC) has agreed to stump-up £35,000 to keep the lights on in Pais­ley and John­stone un­til Jan­uary.

Group chair­woman, Coun­cil­lor Jac­que­line Cameron, says steps will be put in place to of­fer al­ter­na­tives if the char­ity can­not find a cost­ef­fec­tive means to keep ser­vices go­ing.

She said: “I am acutely aware of the un­set­tling ef­fects of re­cent months for ser­vice users and car­ers who ac­cess these day ser­vices and would like to re­as­sure them that they re­main our pri­or­ity.

“We recog­nise the ur­gency of this sit­u­a­tion and are fi­nal­is­ing assess­ments for the 47 peo­ple who at­tend these ser­vices to en­sure they each have their own per­sonal, need­sassessed plan in place.

“We will then dis­cuss these plans with each ser­vice user and their car­ers.

“At the same time we are ex­tend­ing our wide range of modern ser­vices for peo­ple with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties across Ren­frew­shire.

“These ser­vices are highly re­garded and place an em­pha­sis on com­mu­nity in­te­gra­tion, pro­mot­ing in­de­pen­dence and en­hanc­ing life skills.

“We recog­nise the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing ex­ist­ing friend­ship re­la­tion­ships as part of any change to ser­vice pro­vi­sion and want to en­sure a smooth tran­si­tion which min­imises dis­rup­tion to ser­vice users and car­ers.

“We will en­sure ser­vice users and car­ers are kept up-to-date on de­vel­op­ments and their views are fully con­sid­ered.”

RHSC met yes­ter­day to thrash out plans to sup­port vul­ner­a­ble ser­vice users at White­haugh and West Lane Gar­dens.

It agreed to a one-off pay­ment to keep the doors open un­til Jan­uary 31.

Char­ity bosses re­vealed plans to axe the cen­tres in July due to lack of cash.

Fam­i­lies have been left dev­as­tated by the an­nounce­ment and have called for ac­tion to safe­guard care.

The cen­tres of­fer sup­port to adults and young peo­ple with learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties and are well-used.

Ac­tivists have writ­ten to each of Ren­frew­shire’s 43 elected mem­bers ask­ing them to back their cam­paign – in­clud­ing one man who has been us­ing the ser­vice for 52 years.

Around 20 work­ers have also been left fear­ing for their jobs and those they care for.

RHSC has told Ca­pa­bil­ity Scot­land to find a so­lu­tion to de­liver care within a tighter bud­get.

But it says it will of­fer its own ser­vices if no plan can be de­liv­ered.

Ren­frew­shire Coun­cil leader Iain Ni­col­son has called for a quick res­o­lu­tion to help pro­vide an­swers for those in need.

He said: “The coun­cil has ex­pressed its view that the needs of those us­ing the ser­vices are the pri­or­ity.

“It is vi­tal that ev­ery­one con­tin­ues to lis­ten to them and their car­ers to en­sure there are per­son cen­tred plans in place which meet their needs.”

Among those af­fected is Alan John­ston, 50, of Hous­ton, who has Asperger’s Syn­drome and has been us­ing West Lane Gar­dens, in John­stone, for the last decade.

Mum Anne, 77, warns her son is be­com­ing a “para­noid recluse” and has had his med­i­ca­tion in­creased be­cause he is so up­set at the thought of los­ing his friends.

She told how the ser­vice is a life­line to fam­i­lies and of­fers more than just sup­port.

Anne ex­plained: “The staff and users at West Lane Gar­dens are like his fam­ily. It’s like a wee bolt­hole for him, he loves it, and now it’s be­ing whipped away.”

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