DAY centre services in Stamford and Bourne have been saved.
Lincolnshire County Council’s executive today (Tuesday) decided not to close the Stamford Day Centre, in Ryhall Road, and the Stamford and Bourne Learning Disability Services, in Abbey Road, Bourne.
The council announced plans to close the valued centres in October. But after a huge response to a consultation, including a Mercury campaign and a petition which attracted 850 signatures, councillors have performed a U-turn and decided to keep the centres open.
The council today announced a £500,000 fund to help private providers and user groups take over and run the centres.
Executive member for adult social care, Coun Graham Marsh (Con), said: “We said at the start that nothing was off the table and are now pleased to be pressing forward with plans to keep the buildings open, which users told us they wanted.
“Our next job is to ensure that they continue to provide the services that people want to use - and at the same high standards we expect.
“We’ve therefore committed half a million pounds into a Day Opportunities Development Fund and created a resource team which will support the development of these community assets.
“We’re also delighted to say that we have already received nine formal proposals or strong interest from staff groups and parent/carer steering groups, with several other informal expressions of interest too.
“We expect a number to have their new set-ups in the next six months and them all to be resolved within two years – and we’ll keep running them in the meantime.”
The original decision to close the centres was part of a plan to move care users onto the personal budget scheme, which lets them decide where to spend their publicly-funded care grant instead of the council providing care for them.
The council had proposed to close every one of its 31 day centres.
Coun Marsh added: “Whether each service is run by the same people again or private enterprises, we’ll be closely monitoring them to ensure they meet the high standards service users deserve.
“As people will be spending their Personal Budgets there, it’s in the new operators’ interests to provide the type and standard of services that people want or users will take their money elsewhere.
“In fact, 90 per cent of our service users are already getting their services from the private sector, so we want people to be reassured by this model.”