Mother’s ‘Betrayal’ Over Centre Closures

Mum Carol Glenister, who helped Wiltshire County Council gain an award for its work in helping people with learning disabilities, said she is ashamed of her involvement now the council is planning to close five day centres. Mrs Glenister, whose 29-year-old daughter Claire became severely disabled after being vaccinated, said she felt betrayed by the council. Claire’s father Nick was the founder of the Major Wrecks male majorette group which has gained national fame and raised huge amounts of cash to help disabled people. The couple also helped found the Contact a Family support group.

Mrs Glenister was part of a six person panel who gave a presentation on the work that the county council did in helping people with learning disabilities to live more independent lives. As a result the county council was one of four authorities in England to receive Beacon status from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in March this year.

Mrs Glenister said: “I am ashamed to have been part of the Beacon bid when now the county council seems to be going backwards in its provision for adults with learning disabilities. I feel humiliated and betrayed.”

Mrs Glenister vented her anger at a meeting of the county council’s Cabinet at County Hall, Trowbridge, which agreed the closures of five day centres including Middlefield in Chippenham and Ashton Street in Trowbridge where her daughter, Claire, goes.

Mrs Glenister believes her daughter will still receive care from the county council and is concerned for other users. She said: “I am not against change but I don’t think the county council has thought it through properly. Half of the people who use Ashton Street are not capable of being independent.

“It’s so easy to say let them use a public bus service but they are vulnerable and trusting and I think there will be people who are not going to get the back up they need. The county council is looking at saving money by selling five day centres and opening new ones but where is the money to do that?”

Liz McAnaw and her 17-year-old daughter Ellen were also at the Cabinet meeting. Mrs McAnaw’s 22-year-old son Andrew, who has cerebral palsy, attends Ashton Street. She has been told the county council will no longer fund transport to take Andrew to respite care in Salisbury because she receives Motability allowance.

Mrs McAnaw said she was appalled at the prospect of Ashton Street and other day centres closing. She said: “They should improve the centres rather than close them. I don’t see where they are going to provide the new centres.”