Brighton & Hove City Council – Green Group of Councillors
PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 15th, 2016
Green Councillors have expressed their anger over a report to be presented at next week’s Health & Wellbeing Board which recommends councillors close the Tower House Day centre and make “alternative arrangements” for its disabled users.
Greens say the Labour-led Council has failed to fully explore alternative options for keeping the centre open, despite just such an investigation being agreed by all parties in November.
Council officers have claimed there is a lack of demand for the Tower House service and that the service is under capacity. Yet the Council report also acknowledges that since November 2015, social services have pursued a policy of not making any new referrals, stating that: “Because people have been offered alternative individual services in line with the Care Act, there have been no new referrals to Tower House during this period”.
Greens say the report presents the day centre closure as a fait accompli, but insist that there is still time for opposition councillors to reject the proposals.
Green Councillor and Convenor of the Green Group, Phelim Mac Cafferty said:
“At the November meeting of the Policy and Resources committee, Council officers were instructed to consult on ways to keep the day centre open for its existing users. This simply hasn’t been done adequately and I’m furious that we are being asked to close a beloved service without any alternatives having been considered.
“I recognise the current funding pressures on Adult Social Care, but abolishing services which act as a lifeline to lonely, isolated people is not the way to do it. We know that loneliness can be more damaging than smoking 15 cigarettes a day and has a massive financial impact on local authority and NHS services . We have both a moral and financial duty to tackle it.
“We recognise other services are available but these are often under-funded and over-subscribed and won’t be able to offer a place for all our service users. Personalised services, on the other hand, threaten to replace community engagement with one-to-one support which will break up friendships and support networks.
“Day centres may be considered a “traditional” model of care but they are highly valued by users, and the need for participation in one’s community is timeless. Replacing this with support at home is not progress, it’s a backwards step which will break up disabled people from their friends.
“We are calling on the Labour Council to suspend the closure to Tower House and start referring service users to the centre once again. With a bit of creativity we can make this service sustainable and keep a community together. It’s worth it for the savings it will deliver further down the line”.
 LGA. Combating Loneliness guide