Sep 30 2010 Harrow Observer
COUNCILLOR Moher stated in Wembley Observer (Day centres' future under the spotlight, September 16) that the council 'want to offer a different, not a reduced service'.
Most carers want to believe this. In the consultation meetings, however, we have heard conflicting information, which naturally leads to suspicions.
These meetings are skimpy on detail, which tells its own story, but our main worries are around capacity - the council now say the centres are underused, yet just two years ago they were apparently oversubscribed and we needed to make way so others could benefit.
In the last 18 months, the council has reported user numbers have varied widely, with the aim of showing there is no demand for day centres. We have many examples where existing users have been persuaded to try other activities, reducing their service. Some now want to go back but are not permitted.
The council says the young do not want centres. This is no doubt true of some, but we know that the day centre option is not offered to them.
So what do they have in mind? All examples so far, swimming, college, voluntary work, shopping, are activities already provided. There is nothing new or different.
Providing personalised support in the community will be expensive, so can the council afford it? Their response is that they need to do assessments to work this out. However, they want to close these centres now and they do not know if a different service is affordable.
Many carers feel anger and frustration. Day centre users are upset and confused. Dare say none of us feel that we are treated with dignity, or respect for that matter. We have been here many times before.
The council first announced its intentions to close these centres in October 2007. Today, the proposal remains the same: closures and umpteen unanswered questions. We need the support of the wider community and urge people to read our petition. If they decide to sign it, that would be a great help.
ANJNA MANEK (Carer) Via email