A COUNCILLOR has described the proposed closures of elderly day care centres in Eastwood and Selston as ‘cruel and evil’.
The services at Scalby Close in Eastwood and the Matthew Holland complex in Selston are threatened with closure because of council budget cuts.
Selston councillor Gail Turner said: “It’s cruel and evil. The centres provide a much-needed service for some very vulnerable people.
“Some of them have got Alzheimers and real problems. They go there to have a nice day out and enjoy it.
“It’s a very poor society we live in if we can’t give that to an elderly person who has worked all their lives, some of whom have fought a war.”
Nottinghamshire County Council is proposing to close ten of its 23 services county-wide – but the 13 left open are mostly in the north of the county, with two being kept open in Worksop.
The proposals would leave pensioners in Eastwood having to travel all the way to Chilwell for their nearest service with Selston folk forced to head to Sutton-in-Ashfield.
Kevin Rostance, the council’s cabinet member for adult social care and health, said there was more demand in the north of the county for the services which is why these decisions have been made.
“It’s all been worked out on demographics and needs,” he said. “We have looked at all the services and the amount of people using them in the different areas. It’s a matter of providing what is required.”
Plans include investing £4m in the day centres left open, to improve the buildings and convert them into ‘multi-user’ centres.
This means instead of people with mental and physical health problems having separate day care services, they will be invited to go along with others at the same time.
He did, however, say some of the money will be spent on incorporating some extra day care services into the communities who are losing centres, such as dance classes and luncheon clubs.
“People will be able to use what they currently spend on the services at Eastwood and Selston on these extra services we plan to provide out in the community,” he said.
Josie Forrest is the treasurer for the Eastwood branch of Age Concern and runs a luncheon club for the elderly in the town.
She said: “I can’t believe it. They keep making all these cutbacks. There is going to be no services left. People pay their rates for these services.
“Eventually everything will be private sector and it will all be volunteer-run.”
The nearest saved services will be in Arnold, Chilwell, Netherfield, Sutton-in-Ashfield, West Bridgford and Mansfield.
But Mr Rostance said: “We are faced with the challenge to save £187m over the next four years. This has made it difficult to justify keeping all day service buildings open.
“For example, one day centre had only an average of 17 people attending per day, even though it has space for 152 people.”
The council currently spends £22m each year on day services which offer pensioners games, activities, day trips out and the opportunity to socialise. Closing ten centres down will save £5m.
A full consultation was done between October 2010 and January 2011 with more than 1,000 people attending 44 public meetings and over 1,500 responses received.
Proposals to close the centres will go before cabinet today.