Green Councillors are calling on service users and carers to respond to an upcoming consultation on the closure of the Tower House Day Centre service. This follows the special meeting of the Policy and Resources committee last week, where Greens won a measure of reprieve for the centre, by requiring the Council to provide the option of keeping the centre open as part of its consultation with service users.
The special meeting, called at short notice to address a £4.5 million overspend in council services this year, saw the Labour-led council propose to close the centre and only consult with service users as how else their needs could be met. After fierce debate, Green councillors argued that the consultation would be unfair and won agreement for the consultation to include an option to keep the much-valued service going.
Green Councillors praised the service for the tremendous benefit it brought its service users, and warned that closing the service would break up valued friendships, while not offering users a viable alternative.
Green councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, Convener of the Green group and Green spokesperson for health and well-being said:
“The city’s Health and Well-Being Board is keen to point out the need for greater personalisation of services. That doesn’t just mean support at home, it means giving people choice and control to access the type of support in the way they choose.
“The popularity of the Tower House Day Centre among its users is evident from the passionate protests to keep the service open.
Service users have developed close friendships and for many who struggle to get out and about, the day centre is a lifeline.
“If we are truly committed to choice and control we should be enabling users to choose this service. The day centre staff are telling us they have been discouraged from recruiting new members, and the facilities of the centre lie dormant outside of opening hours – there are significant options to make it more sustainable.
“We are pleased that the option of keeping the centre open is back on the table and will be part of this consultation. What we need now is for the service users, carers and their families to tell the council why the centre should stay open when they receive the consultation. Although not included in the formal consultation, members of the public can also write to their local councillor to keep the pressure up to save the service”.