Campaigners blast closure of New Malden day care centres

CAMPAIGNERS have described the closure of two day care centres in New Malden as a ‘travesty of justice’.

Last month Kingston Council agreed to close The Causeway and Crescent Centre, which helps provide people with learning and physical disabilities, as part of its plans to save £2million from the adult social care budget.

The centres will close on October 31 and drop in centres will be set up across the borough.

Campaigners who fought against the closures feel that drop in centres won’t be a good enough substitute and that this decision will have a detrimental effect on both carers and users.

Former borough councillor, Mary Clark, helped to organise the campaign.

She said: “The centres support users with high level needs, they go along and receive one to one support. Many of the users have been attending for most of their lives and drop in centres won’t be as affective.

“The centres won’t be big enough, and won’t be as convenient as The Causeway and Crescent Centre. We should be protecting the most vulnerable people in our borough. The centres offer great respite for the carers, but now that the closure is going ahead they are going to have to think about what they should do next.

“Carers who are getting older may be faced with putting family members in care. This whole thing has been a travesty of justice.”

After the council announced its plans for the centre, campaigners launched a petition against the closure.

Holding regular stalls in New Malden High Street, they collected more than 1,800 signatures.

Sue Taylor’s son, Paul, 23, who has cerebral palsy and severe learning difficulties has been a centre user for four years.

Worcester Park resident, Sue, said: “The closure is like the loss of a limb. I thought my son was settled. He is happy there, he knows everyone there – it is like a lifeline. I’m just so fuming.

“The council say they will give us a direct budget which will allow him to spend it on activities he wants to do, but he can’t take part in any activities, and if he wants one to one care, he will have to pay for it. It’s not very fair.

“The centre is like an extended family. Why shut down something that is working. He’s very stressed and upset that his day centre is closing.”