We must keep this centre open

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I feel I really must write in support of the day care centre in Ryhall Road, Stamford.

I was my mother’s full-time carer for 10 years until her death in 2007.

Mum suffered from vascular dementia and for eight of those 10 years she attended Marie’s outreach group for the confused elderly. The group was originally held in Hillary Close, St Clement’s or Clare Close and finally at the day care centre.

For those eight years we would take mum to the group for five to six hours on two days a week.

She was often reluctant to go and needed persuasion but once there was quite happy and was much more cheerful when we collected her.

It did her a lot of good to get out and mix with others. Lunch, tea, coffee and biscuits were provided.

There were lots of activities with traditional games like dominoes and pushpenny and craft sessions.

Mum often came home with something she had won or been helped to make like a tea cosy or cushion cover.

Marie and her staff were fully trained to care for dementia sufferers and that made all the difference.

I could do all the other things I needed to knowing that Mum was in safe hands being looked after by carers who knew her and understood the needs of her and others like her.

The centre was an absolute godsend to me and I cannot imagine how I would have coped without those two days every week.

I am pleased to see (Mercury October 28) that Age UK is to open a new day centre for the elderly in January.

This is good news but as Mrs V Bowles (chief executive of Age UK Kesteven) said, this facility is to complement existing services not replace them.

I note that the new centre will be able to cater for 14 service users per day.

Add that to the number cared for at the Ryhall Road centre and it would make a real contribution to care available to people living in Stamford and the surrounding area.

There was always a waiting list for places at the Ryhall Road centre which suggests that the needs of all confused elderly in the locality have never been properly met.

At a time when we are all living longer and needing more care, especially for people with particular needs, closing the Ryhall Road centre makes no sense at all.

I wonder, will the county council be able to tell carers with “personal budgets” where they can buy care of the same kind and high standard or is that another of their current responsibilities that they are rushing to relinquish .

Doreen Freear

Queen’s Walk, Stamford

I fully support your campaign to stop the closure of Stamford Day Centre. Who knows when I might need its services? We need to see the proposed closure in its wider context. For a start it shows that the Government and local councils are trying to deceive us when they say that frontline services are safe from the cuts. What could be more frontline than care of the vulnerable?

More frontline services will be threatened as austerity bites. It doesn’t matter what county councillors think or do; their hands are tied by cuts in Government grants and capping of council tax.

There are other ways to reduce the national deficit. Address the billions lost in uncollected, avoided and evaded taxes; fully nationalise all the banks; get rid of Trident nuclear weapons and bring the troops home from Afghanistan; impose a wealth tax on the 10 per cent of the population who own half the country’s assets.

It’s not easy to make our mark on these national issues. But one early opportunity is to give every possible support to the millions of public service workers who will come out on strike on November 30.

Because of Thatcher’s anti-union laws, kept on by Blair and Brown, the public servants will be striking simply to defend their pensions. But their action will be a blow against wide-ranging cuts in salaries and services that in one way or another will affect us all. Let’s all cheer them on.

DAVID GROVE

King’s Mill Lane, Stamford

The Mercury is to be commended for campaigning to stop the closure of Stamford Day Centre.

While it is understandable to look at personal budgets as a means of giving people more control over their care, it is vital that the vulnerable in our community maintain contact through facilities like this with others, so avoiding becoming isolated from the community. A community should be judged by how well it cares for its most vulnerable members, and we have already disgraced ourselves by axing the vital meals on wheels service in our town, such that the Evergreen Care Trust, a charity, has had to fill this void.

How many more services for the vulnerable will we watch fall away, so that we can maintain the profligate spending and salaries of the modern day Borgias at the head of our public services?

Do I exaggerate? I think not, when the NHS alone employs more than 600 people on a higher salary than the Prime Minister.

Perhaps the Mercury could investigate and publish the numbers of senior managers employed in our public services locally and their salaries and compare that to say 10 years ago so that we can all see where our money is being spent?

This debate is often reduced to a “how dare you attack our nurses and police officers” when the real debate should be why the heads of our public services are allowed to continue to inflate their salaries and pensions such that the employment of the front line and the services provided are threatened.

Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust is currently advertising for a new CEO, minimum salary £150,000, up to £200,000 (plus final salary gold plated pension) but even more for an exceptional candidate!

And we are debating closing a day centre. We and they should be ashamed.

Vincent O’Shea

Oak Road, Stamford

CLOSE the Ryhall Road Day Centre! Please no! My mother Jess was diagnosed with dementia four years ago, soon after her husband died. She was becoming isolated socially as people with this condition are unable to initiate interaction.

Since then she has been attending the centre two days a week. I know that here she eats in company and enjoys social interaction with familiar faces. These days are the highlight of her week in the company of dedicated, patient, skilled and just as important cheerful, enthusiastic caring staff and volunteers with a great sense of humour.

I fear that should she lose the day centre, she will give up on life - for a vulnerable lady it has become her life.

LESLEY EARL

Montrose Close, Stamford