Day centre services in Stamford and Bourne to be kept open

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DAY centre services in Stamford and Bourne are set to be kept open following a Mercury campaign.

Readers responded in their hundreds when Lincolnshire County Council announced plans to close its day centre services to save money.

The move was linked to the introduction of a personal budget scheme, which lets care service users decide where to spend a care grant instead of the council providing care for them.

We sent almost 500 coupons to the county council from readers opposing the plans after our campaign, which was launched in November.

Others responded to the council’s online consultation or organised petitions.

The overwhelming response to the consultation prompted the county council to delay its decision on the plans.

Now the public outcry has resulted in a U-turn.

In a report published this week the council reveals plans to keep day centre services running while private companies or other organisations are found to take over.

As a result, Stamford Day Centre, in Ryhall Road, Edmunds Close day centre in Stamford, and the Stamford and Bourne Learning Disability Services, based in Abbey Road, Bourne, are among 31 centres in the county that will remain open.

Short break facilities in Spalding and Lincoln will also avoid closure.

More than 80 people regularly use the day centre services in Stamford and Bourne.

The council hopes private firms will take over and keep the existing staff.

Interim assistant director for adult social care commissioning at the council, Terry Hawkins, said: “We have listened to what people have told us about what they trust, value and want.

“Consequently, rather than physically closing existing centres from which such support is provided, we’re recommending a model which sees centres and services stay open if well utilised, with existing staff or private firms supported to continue running them in the same buildings.”

Campaign supporters were delighted at the news.

Doreen Freear, of Queen’s Walk, Stamford, whose late mother used Stamford Day Centre. said: “I’m delighted – it’s wonderful news.

“I was so grateful for the help they gave me with my mother and it wasn’t nice to think they wouldn’t be open for people who need them in the future but this is great news.”

John Butcher, of Edmunds Close, Stamford, who tried to arrange meetings with the county council about the issue, said: “It’s very good news, very good indeed.

“Now they must make sure they will run in the same way under the new scheme and offer the same level of service.”

Tracey Byles, 48, of Austerby, Bourne, started her own petition against the plans and collected more than 850 signatures. She said: “It’s fantastic that they’ll be kept open - wonderful news.

“Users and their families will be so relieved and it’s lovely to know that when people come together things can be done.”

Mercury editor Eileen Green welcomed the news. She said: “I’m pleased the council has seen sense and taken our readers’ views on board.

“It shows the power people can have when they unite.”

The council’s adult scrutiny committee will discuss the new proposals at a meeting on Tuesday. It will make recommendations the the executive, which is due to make a final decision on Tuesday, March 6.