Users could lose valued services

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A CARE provider could expand to try and fill the gap that would be left if Lincolnshire County Council closes day centres in Stamford and Bourne.

But the leader of a support group for adults with learning disabilities has warned the council it cannot rely on the voluntary sector to replace its own services.

The council wants to move adult social care users to the personal budget scheme, which lets them decide where to spend their publicly-funded care grant instead of the council providing care for them.

But it also wants to close the Stamford and Bourne Learning Disability Services, in Abbey Road, Bourne and the Stamford Day Centre, in Ryhall Road, Stamford.

The council hopes private providers and volunteers will set up new centres to fill the gap.

But users are worried they will be left without the services they value so much. Almost 300 people have backed our campaign to save the day centres.

Heritage Care is a national charity which runs support services for adults with learning disabilities in Bourne and Market Deeping and cares for the elderly in other areas of the UK. Branch manager for Lincolnshire, Robert Wells, hopes the charity can help fill the gap.

He said: “As new people receive personal budgets we have planned not only to continue with services that people value such as supported living and respite or short breaks services but to extend our ability to offer alternative day care support, support at home and in the community.”

But Lesley Patrick is group leader of Bourne Gateway Club which supports adults with learning disabilities. She thinks the council should not rely on the voluntary sector.

She said: “In one respect you can say the council is passing the buck. In the other we have to say there is a recession and Bourne is not excluded.

“I do think perhaps groups could get together but I am not sure if the council will get much response from the local community.

“It’s a double-edged sword. A lot of people have lost their jobs and could see some personal satisfaction if they did work within the community. But not everyone would be prepared to do that and not everyone is in a position to do that.”