End the wait­ing game over day care cen­tres

Coun­cil­lor’s plea as fam­i­lies warn of ‘heart­break’

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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

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