Concerns grow over what centre users will do when unit closes
Concerns have been raised that there are no suitable services in Biddulph to support the imminent closure of the day centre next year.
Biddulph Day Unit, on Princess Street, currently offers activities and hot meals for the elderly and respite for their carers.
After it was confirmed recently that it would shut on 31st March, 2015, carers have been looking for alternative provisions for their loved ones.
But town Coun Madelaine Lovatt is unsure if sufficient services are available in Biddulph.
Coun Lovatt said: “A representative of the trust stated publicly at the closure meeting, (the trust called it re-provision not a closure) that unless people’s needs could be met in Biddulph, the centre would not close.
“I am not confident that there are sufficient suitable services in Biddulph. I therefore hope that all the users and carers will be able to clearly state their views and that after all, the centre will not close.”
And at a meeting of Biddulph Town Council last Tuesday councillors agreed to write to the county council to say they do not accept the decision to close the day centre.
Coun Chris Wood said: “It is just based purely on finance. We are losing service after service in Biddulph and now we’re losing a day care centre which provides vital care for people and carers.”
Some alternatives include luncheon clubs, social cafes and home based day care.
Robert Beech, (65), of Woodhouse Lane, Biddulph said his mum, Kathleen had been using the centre three days a week for five years.
He said: “The ideas presented were just totally unsuitable. Some things were just once a week or on evenings, some were even just once a month.”
Mr Beech said transport was provided for her to get to the day centre.
He added: “She has a walking stick and the alternatives are for more able bodied people. She is not 100% so anything requiring mental activities would not be suitable, such as sewing and knitting, and she has arthritis in her fingers.”
His was initially concerned when they were given the list of options explaining: “Continuing with the day centre was not an option. From my point of view it was decided by the powers that it would close.
“It is good for her socially, she is lonely on her own. Another alternative was for someone to come and sit with her but that’s no good she needs to get out and about.
“Loneliness is a massive problem throughout the county and it is not being catered for and this was a way of helping. It also helps me because I know she is being looked after.”
A spokesman for the trust said it is in the process of finding appropriate alternatives. She said: “We will be looking until the 31st March for appropriate alternatives for people. If that happens in the next month then that is great, but otherwise we have got until the end of March to find something.”
Mr Beech accompanied Coun Lovatt to look around the Victoria Centre in Biddulph Methodist Church where day care could be provided.
Mr Beech said it would be a good alternative to the day centre. He said: “It had quite a bit of space and toilets, and the staff are qualified so it could be a possibility.
“We are looking at it closely and the day centre wanted to keep as many people together as possible and this seems like a possibility.”
Staffordshire County Council and the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust have introduced personal budgets.
These help users access community based opportunities and maximise their independence.