Mum’s Fight To Save City’s Day Centres

For Patricia Stimpson, the care centre her two children have visited for almost 30 years has been a lifeline. But the Castlefields centre, which offers daycare for people with learning disabilities, faces an uncertain future along with four other centres in Cardiff. Now the centres are to be changed in a massive shake-up of services for people with learning disabilities which, according to the council, aims to shift the focus of care into the community. But Mrs Stimpson, 65, who has two children, Suzanne, 42, and John, 40, with learning disabilities and in need of constant care, hit back at changes to the service.

Suzanne is able to walk and talk, but unable to read and write, while John has to use a wheelchair and cannot talk. She said: “It would be a terrible loss if the centre closed down. It’s the only place they have ever known. John has been going since he was about 11 and Suzanne has been going since she was about 14.

“Suzanne used to go full-time, but now goes a few times a week for swimming and a meal, but John goes most days. He’s not able to do a lot, but it’s somewhere for him to go because otherwise it’s boring for him in the house. They need someone to watch them all the time.”

“When they were full-time it meant so much to me and I know it means a lot to others. I’m worried about where they will go now.”

A Cardiff council spokesman has said that the new structure to its services would mean a more ‘person-centred, community-based approach’.

A spokesman for the union Unison, which fear job losses and have called for an emergency meeting: “There is a potential reduction in service to our clients and a reduction in the longer term as the authority is intending to become more reliant on friends and families for these services.”