. . . but county council insists closures will not affect their standards of care

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A SENIOR manager has insisted care standards can be upheld despite council plans to close centres in a bid to cut costs.

Last week Nottinghamshire County Council announced it wants to close four local day care centres in favour of bigger ‘multi-purpose’ bases.

As you can read above some users of the threatened day centres at Scalby Close in Eastwood and in Selston say the plan is ‘ridiculous’, and are campaigning to keep the current system.

But Annette Orton, who helped run a pilot scheme which aimed to get more services in one place, said sharing facilities is viable.

She has managed the Willow Wood day care centre in Sutton-in-Ashfield as a shared centre for the past six months.

“When I was asked to do this I wondered myself how it could work for people with different needs, but there is a buzz about the place and people still have their own areas and space,” she said.

“This is not about putting everyone in one room and letting them get on with it.”

Willow Wood used to be a centre for adults with learning disabilities and physical problems, but now also caters for elderly day users and other people who used other day care centres.

The council opened the centre’s doors to the press on Monday, in an effort to provide re-assurance that the planned cuts will not harm the quality of care.

Around 150 to 175 people use Willow Wood each day, with around 90 of those users suffering with learning disabilities.

Regular day trips are provided, meaning not all those associated with the centre are in it at any one time, and a network of light and airy rooms holds a programme of daily events.

“Smaller centres might not have access to the transport we do,” added Ms Orton.

“There’s a community feel, people get the opportunity to form friendships.”

Under the council plans, which were being decided upon yesterday as the Advertiser went to press, Eastwood’s Scalby Close day care centre along with Selston Day Care Centre and several others across the county face the axe.

Services will be provided instead at 12 shared-use centres with Selston folk going to Willow Wood and Eastwood people going to a new centre in Chilwell.

But a council spokesman insisted the extra distance would not lead to extra cost for day care centre users.

He said people would only be expected to pay the same travel costs they are paying at the moment to get to the services with the county council covering any extra costs.

Funding totalling £4m will be provided to upgrade the new-look centres, while closing the other bases will save £5m a year.