Leeds Day Care Centres Axed
A PLAN to close four day centres as part of a “new direction” for older people’s services in Leeds has been given the go-ahead by senior councillors.
In the first phase of the shake-up, the centres to close are Richmond Hill; The Willows, Horsforth; Farfield, Farsley and Penda’s Way, Cross Gates.
Attendance at the centres – which the council says can no longer physically provide the quality of care people have a right to expect – has been falling.
Consultations have been held and centre users are to transfer to other day centres of their choice.
According to plans drawn up by the council, “traditional” day centres will no longer be the norm and will be strengthened by services that specialise in the needs of people with dementia, long-term medical or physical conditions, or very frail older people.
The remodelled system will include a new feature – an outreach service making it possible for day services staff to support older people in their community.
Coun Peter Harrand (Con, Alwoodley), executive member for adult health and social care, said: “The important thing is that people should get what they want – not get what they are given.
“Remaining with existing friendship groups is a priority for most people using the centres and a key part of the process has been to achieve this.
“We have helped service users visit other centres in their areas so that they can make informed choices.
“A key commitment we are making is that, where a centre is closed, we will reinvest resources to strengthen services in that same locality.”
Local reinvestment could include support for the voluntary sector, such as Neighbourhood Networks, to help older people whose needs are straightforward.
The council says pilot schemes indicated the new way of providing services worked well.
Coun Harrand said: “Next steps are to consult widely with communities across the city on proposals designed to support older people. This will take place during January and February next year.”
Labour councillors have voiced doubts about the changes.
Coun Keith Wakefield (Lab, Kippax and Methley), Labour group leader, told the executive board: “The Neighbourhood Network is creaking because of financial constraints.We would like evidence of more choice for older people when a service is changed.”
Coun Judith Blake (Lab, Middleton Park) said the council’s day centres had a reputation for excellence and added: “We need to protect the services they are delivering and enhance them.”