Anger over cuts to day centre hours

A SWANSEA Valley day centre has had its opening hours cut, after Swansea Council decided not to pay higher charges for the service.

Gelligron Day Service Centre in Pontardawe will be open three days a week instead of five after Swansea Council decided to withdraw funding for the facility, based in the Neath Port Talbot local authority area.

Swansea Council’s cabinet member for social services, Nick Tregoning, said the reason for withdrawing its support followed the opening of the authority’s own, facility — Waterfalls — in Clydach’s Forge Fach Resource Centre.

But he also said the authority had been asked to pay a hike in charges for using the facility, by Neath Port Talbot Council which runs it.

Councillor Tregoning said: “If Neath Port Talbot want to make cuts they have to take responsibility for their own actions.

“Swansea decided to develop its own centre, because I was not satisfied with the provision in the north of the city, but also because Neath Port Talbot increased the fees to us, without any notice.”

Neath MP Peter Hain, as well as Pontardawe councillor Mike James, have given their support to the facility, and called for it to be kept open daily.

Mr Hain, who visited the centre last week, said: “The county council’s budget has been savagely cut by the Westminster Government, and this means really hard decisions are being forced on it.

“But we learned there is a long waiting list of senior citizens who would like to come to the centre.

“One 85-year-old man told me he had to care for his wife who has Alzheimer’s 24 hours a day, and visiting the centre was his only relief. Many others in their 90s living alone, isolated on low incomes said coming to the centre was the one bright spot in their lives.”

Head of Neath Port Talbot Council’s community care services, Claire Marchant, said: “The council is currently carrying out a three-month consultation on proposals to keep a day service at Gelligron.

“No decision has been made and all comments and views will be taken on board. Although the proposal is to offer the service for three days instead of five, this will still be a full day care service and no individual will experience a reduction in the number of hours they attend.”