End the waiting game over day care centres
Councillor’s plea as families warn of ‘heartbreak’
15.09.2018 Worried learning disability day centre users could be forced to wait until next year to discover if their “fantastic” services will be saved.
Renfrewshire Council is set to consider whether funding for Capability Scotland services in Paisley’s Whitehaugh and Johnstone’s West Lane Gardens will continue as part of its budget setting process in March.
The local authority committed funding to the day centres in this year’s budget to allow Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) time to develop a “needs-assessed plan for every service user”.
This has now been completed, prompting further questions over the future of the centres – which put on activities for and support those with learning disabilities.
Helen Allison’s daughter has benefited from the service in Whitehaugh for over 15 years and she said the centre has given her “confidence and happiness”.
The parent said losing the centre would break her daughter’s heart.
She said: “The centre has given her confidence and happiness. She loves the staff and although a very quiet person she gets on well with the other users.
“To take her away from that would be heartbreaking and extremely traumatic for her.
“People who don’t have children with learning disabilities have no idea how closing a centre like Whitehaugh can affect them.”
Meanwhile, Councillor Derek Bibby called on the HSCP to “end the uncertainty” over the future of the two day centres.
He said: “These centres do fantastic work. They have provided companionship and security for people over decades, maximising their potential.
“The impact of the loss of this service would be immeasurable, and it is nothing short of heartbreaking that this is a real prospect.
“Politicians and professionals constantly refer to the need to listen to people and put their trust in them to do the right thing. Closing these centres will be a breach of that trust.
“There is an overwhelming case for keeping these centres open and those charged with the decision on their future, which include three SNP administration councillors, should do just that.”
A spokesman for the council said cash had been given to the HSCP to allow it time to explore available options for service users.
He said: “Funding was committed to the day services at West Lane Gardens and Whitehaugh as part of the council’s budget setting process in March.
“This provides Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership with the time to explore the options available and to enable in-depth discussion with the people using these services to ensure their care needs are meet.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the HSCP added: “Since Capability Scotland confirmed its intention to end its contract to deliver services at West Lane Gardens and Whitehaugh, we have looked at all available options and our learning disability staff have been working closely with the service users, carers and their families to ensure we continue to meet their care needs.
“Council funding has enabled the services to continue while we consider all options and allow more time to put in place a needsassessed plan for every service user.
“These have been completed and every service user has a selfdirected support budget in place. We also have dedicated resource officers in place to support service users to make choices on how to use that budget to meet their care needs.”
Local Democracy Reporter Concerns Councillor Derek Bibby at West Lane Gardens