Join our campaign to stop closure of Stamford Day Centre

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Have your say

TODAY the Mercury is calling on readers to back our campaign to stop the closure of Stamford Day Centre.

We believe the centre, in Ryhall Road, provides a vital lifeline for adults with learning disabilities, the elderly and people with dementia.

It is threatened with closure by Lincolnshire County Council, as is Stamford and Bourne Learning Disability Services, in Abbey Road, Bourne, which runs support groups in the two towns.

The council has launched a 90-day consultation on its plans which runs until January 9.

We believe public outcry could force it to think again and hope readers will fill in our coupon on page 3 today.

County councillor John Hicks (Ind), representing Stamford North, is backing our campaign.

He said: “I have been to the day centre and the people there don’t want the place shut. There are hundreds of users who depend on it.

“There is no way I could condone the closure of this sort of place.

“I wholeheartedly support any campaign that seeks to prevent that from happening. The most needy are the ones that are being affected the most and that is wrong.”

Doreen Freear, of Queen’s Walk, Stamford, knows first-hand the value of the day centre. For 10 years she cared full-time for her mother, who had vascular dementia. For eight of those her mother attended Marie’s Outreach Group, which was based at the day centre. She said the centre was

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just as important for carers as it was to its users as it gave them a break, safe in the knowledge the people they cared for were being looked after properly.

She said: “I was able to leave mum with people who knew how to look after her. Going to the centre and socialising stimulates people and they get a lot of attention.”

Sandra Stevenson, from Beverley Close, Stamford, has a 24-year-old daughter with learning difficulties. Her daughter attends New College Stamford Monday to Thursday and goes to a Stamford and Bourne Learning Disabilities Services group in Edmonds Close, Stamford, every Friday.

Mrs Stevenson said the loss of the service would be devastating for her daughter.

“People with learning disabilities find it difficult to cope with change,” she said. “At the moment they don’t know what choice they are going to have, or if the services are going to be there.

“A lot of the people I know have been using the day services for many years and it is going to be a real upset to change.

“It is going to cause a lot of anguish.”

The county council plans are among proposals to move adult social care users to the personal budget scheme, which lets people decide where to spend their publicly-funded care grant instead of the council providing care for them. As part of those plans, the county would cut some of its services and close centres.

Stamford MP Nick Boles said he was in favour of personal budgets, but said the council should listen to calls for day centres to be kept open.

He said: “If people have a strong desire to spend their money on these facilities I would support them in that and would hope that the council could come to some arrangement to keep them open.”

Mr Boles has written to Peter Duxbury, director of adult and children’s services at the county council, and plans to discuss the issue with him in person.

If you want to comment on the plans, as part of the county’s consultation, go to www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/dpsconsultation

Pickup the Mercury for coupon to save the day centre.