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Derbyshire council urges residents to take up consultation on future of learning disability centres

Wednesday, 10 July 2024 13:50

By Jon Cooper, Local Democracy Reporter

Derbyshire council has urged concerned residents to take part in two consultations as the authority is considering saving plans that could result in some support services and centres for adults with learning disabilities being discontinued and closed.

Conservative-controlled Derbyshire County Council launched a public consultation in April on the authority’s proposed options to redesign how it provides Day Opportunity centres and Short Break residential units for adults with learning disabilities and or autism before making any final decisions.

But it has stressed there is still time for residents to make their views known in the two consultations which propose changes to the way adult social care support is delivered as part of wider plans to save money and fulfil on plans to balance an estimated deficit of around £40m for the current 2024-25 financial year.

Cllr Natalie Hoy, the county council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Care, said: “I’d urge anyone who hasn’t already done so to take part in the consultation or book on to a virtual meeting. 

“Everyone’s views will be fully taken into account before any decisions are made about the future of these services. 

“With demand for adult social care support rising, it means we have to consider how we continue to deliver the services we are required to by law to support those people who need us most.” 

The council operates four day centres at Alderbrook in Chinley, Parkwood Centre in Alfreton, No Limits, in Chesterfield, and Outlook in Long Eaton, which are used by a total of 57 people for an average of three days per week. 

Short breaks are also provided for 55 people at Newhall Bungalow, in Swadlincote, Petersham Centre, in Long Eaton, Morewood Centre, in Alfreton, and Victoria Street, in Brimington, and the Hadfield Road site, in Glossop, has remained unused since 2020 due to its lack of suitability. 

Derbyshire County Council’s latest proposals follow the authority’s previously announced phased closure of eight adult day care centres in 2022 when dozens of campaigners protested outside the council’s headquarters at County Hall. 

The latest options include discontinuing the use of Day Opportunity centres at No Limits, Parkwood Centre, Alderbrook Centre, and Outlook, for those with learning disabilities or autism, or retain No Limits and Outlook but discontinue the use of Parkwood and Alderbrook. 

The council is also considering proposals to discontinue the use of Short Break residential units at Victoria Street, Petersham Centre, Newhall Bungalow, and Hadfield Road, and retain Morewood Centre for planned Short Breaks only, or retain Morewood Centre and Newhall Bungalow for planned Short Breaks only and discontinue the use of the other facilities. 

The council stated the possible discontinuation of No Limits, Parkwood, Alderbrook and Outlook as Day Opportunity centres would reflect the success of its Community Connectors service with continued support for people to access other day opportunities. 

Alternatively, the council may choose to retain No Limits and Outlook for Day Opportunities but discontinue the use of Parkwood Centre which needs repairs and Alderbrook which currently only supports nine people. 

The council stated Short Break units at Petersham Centre, Victoria Street, at Brimington, and Newhall Bungalow, may be considered for discontinuation as well as Hadfield Road which has not been open since 2020 but if these proposals go-ahead there will also be a plan to retain Morewood Centre, at Alfreton, for planned Short Breaks only, with the capacity to support 100 people for 36 days each a year. 

An alternative option for Short Breaks support might be to retain Morewood Centre and Newhall Bungalow for planned Short Breaks only with surplus beds, and discontinue the use of the other facilities. 

As part of the public consultation, drop-in sessions have been held at Derbyshire libraries where people have given their views and one is still to be held at Shirebrook Library, on Thursday, July 25, between 10am and noon.  

The council has stated that like every other council up and down the country, it is facing significant financial challenges that are outside its control. 

These include inflationary pressures, staff pay awards agreed nationally but paid locally and continuing increasing demand on our services, particularly in adult care and children’s services. 

Demand for adult social care support has also risen dramatically with the cost of providing care and support accounting for 48% of the council’s overall spending.  

Anyone can take part by visiting the council link https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/council/have-your-say/consultation-search/consultations.aspx and completing the online questionnaire. 

Paper copies of the questionnaire will also be available on request in standard and easy read formats and support can be provided for those who need help to complete them. 

To find out more about each of the proposals and fill in the online questionnaires people should visit the following web links – https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/council/have-your-say/consultation-search/consultation-details/proposed-re-design-of-day-opportunities-and-short-breaks-for-people-with-learning-disabilities-and-or-autism.aspx and https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/council/have-your-say/consultation-search/consultation-details/proposed-redesign-of-residential-care-and-day-opportunities-for-older-people-adult-care.aspx 

The public can also book on to online virtual meetings to hear more about the proposals and give their views.  

For people interested in hearing more about the proposals to change support for people with learning disabilities and or autism these will be held online on Monday, July 22, and Thursday, August 1, between 6.30pm and 7.30pm.  

Those interested in hearing more about the proposals to change support for older people these will be held online on Wednesday, July 24, and Monday, July 29, between 6.30pm and 7.30pm.

The consultation on options to re-design day opportunities and short breaks for adults with learning disabilities and or autism closes on August 21.

The consultation on options to re-design residential care and day opportunities for older people closes on August 7.

To book on to an online meeting, to request a paper copy of the questionnaires in either standard or easy read format or to request help to fill them in email the council’s Stakeholder Engagement and Consultation Team on tell.adultcare@derbyshire.gov.uk or phone 01629 531307 to leave a message. 

The financially-troubled council has stressed that like many local authorities it has been struggling due to reduced Government funding, the financial impact from the Covid-19 pandemic, high inflation rates, rising costs, the cost of living crisis, and a growing demand on services.

 

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