Campaigner claims council should be ‘ashamed’ for Shirebrook adult day centre closure proposals

The mother of a woman with severe learning difficulties has started a petition opposing proposals to close adult day centres, claiming council leaders ‘should be ashamed of themselves’.

By Christina Massey
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 1:36 pm

Coun Sandra Peake, who represents Langwith on Bolsover Council, was in Market Place, Shirebrook , with fellow Labour councillors and representatives from trade union Unison rallying support for the petition, which calls for a stop to Derbyshire Council’s proposals to close all three adult day centres in Bolsover district.

In March, Derbyshire Council launched a consultation over the future of eight day centres throughout the county, claiming they were underused.

Coun Peake, whose 51-year-old daughter Donna has been attending Carter Lane Day Centre, Shirebrook, for more than 30 years, said if the centres close there will be no provision left for her nearby.

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Sandra Peake, in the centre of the picture, with campaigners in Shirebrook

She said: “There’s a private day centre in Clowne, but they will only take the more able and my daughter, who needs personal care, can’t go to this.

“She would either end up having to go to Chesterfield or Alfreton, or into a private day centre in Nottingham.”

Coun Peake said the staff at Carter Lane were ‘brilliant’ and Donna loves going there, adding she is autistic and does not respond well to change.

She said if the centres closed it would mean a loss of respite for parents and carers, as well as friendship groups for service users.

“Derbyshire Council should be ashamed of themselves for how they’re treating the most vulnerable in our society,” Coun Peake stated.

The authority is currently consulting over the future of the centres.

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Listening

However, the Conservative administration’s recent decision to close seven care homes for the elderly, irrespective of the results of a public consultation, has left many concerned the authority is not listening to residents.

Labour campaigners have accused the authority of curbing referrals to day centres to make it look as though they are not in demand.

Coun Liz Smyth, member for Ault Hucknall, said: “They have used the shutdown during Covid to diminish the service and claim people aren’t using it, but they only weren’t using it because of Covid.”

She accused county council leaders of ‘massaging the figures to make them fit’.

Jeanette Lloyd, branch secretary for Derbyshire Unison, said between the care homes and adult day centres, up to 500 workers were facing displacement.

She said: “Overwhelmingly the staff’s main concern is about the service users.

“But from a Unison point of view we need to preserve public services.”

She commented the possibility of redundancies was ‘absolutely undeniable’, adding that the union would support staff throughout the process.

A county council spokesman said: “We are committed to supporting people with learning disabilities, their families and carers but traditional services, such as a day centre, may not always be the best way of doing this, although we also recognise that for some people with very complex needs a building-based service may be part of their care and support plan.

“We would ensure that people could still access suitable provision including those who have specialist or complex needs.”

The county council’s consultation runs until June 19 and people can take part at derbyshire.gov.uk/learningdisabilityredesign

To sign the petition opposing the proposals, see bit.ly/3PqLFuB

Unison is now holding a public meetings to discuss the proposed closures at Alfreton Leisure Centre on June 6, from 6-8pm.