Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Petition attracts overwhelming support from the local community in Honiton.
A petition has been launched to save St Michael’s Day Centre in Honiton, which has been threatened with closure.
It has been organised by local town councillor and Green Party member Sharon Pavey and was launched by the East Devon Green Party last Saturday - attracting overwhelming support from the community.
More than 300 people flocked to sign the petition at the weekend.
Mrs Pavey said: “We knew St Michael’s was close to everyone’s hearts but we did not expect this immediate level of support; it’s incredible. It just shows that there is such wonderful community spirit in Honiton and we look after our own.”
The proposed closure has been put forward by Devon County Council (DCC) as part of a review into its day care services. DCC is proposing to reduce its 35 day centres to nine, merging six day services into three centres, and using private sector provision in place of 26 centres. St Michael’s Day Centre provides a range of social activities for older people aged over 65 and respite care.
Mrs Pavey added: “I think we all know that cutting services like these is extremely short-sighted and will have a direct impact on the health of elderly people. This leads to increased spending on medical care in the long-run. We hear that levels of dementia are rising and we have a large elderly population, particularly here in East Devon, so where is the common sense in this decision.”
Petitions are available to sign at Honiton Surgery, the TRIP office in New Street and Wendy’s Cookshop, High Street. An online petition is available by visiting http://freepetition.co.uk/devoncc/LivePetition.aspx
Honiton Town Council at a meeting on Monday night agreed to write a letter to county council leader John Hart about the proposals and will be sending a response as part of the consultation process outlining concerns.
Deputy mayor, Councillor Peter Halse, said: “Unless we shout and shout loudly now we are going to lose it.”
The need for local pressure to be put on the county council was echoed by Councillor Mike Allen.
The meeting also heard concerns from Honiton Surgery, who are ‘firmly opposed’ to the closure. In a letter the surgery emphasised the vital service provided ‘to some of the most vulnerable members of the community’ and said it ‘hugely reduces loneliness and isolation’ for the elderly, as well as providing vital support for carers.
It said: “The closure of St Michael’s would be a disaster for the elderly patients of Honiton, resulting in lower standards of care, and almost certainly increasing the rates of admission to hospital of elderly patients within our town.”
The consultation ends on Wednesday, March 19. Submit comments by visiting www.toughchoices.co.uk