Friday, June 20, 2014
St Michael’s Day Centre in Honiton looks set for closure despite efforts by the local community to save the facility.
Devon County Council announced on Monday that 17 day centres will be retained, which will include 11 merging into four and six more staying as they are. The remaining 17 day centres will close.
The decision comes after extensive consultation about the future provision of day services.
Councillor Stuart Baker, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for the council’s care homes and day services, said: “Regarding day centres, we need to recognise that there are far more people, eligible for our support, who choose not to attend day centres, least of all our day centres.
“We need to support them more, to maximise the opportunities that direct payments and personal budgets provides them. We will be working with the private and voluntary sector in local communities.”
He added: “Nothing will happen immediately and no one will be left without a day service or be financially worse off for it.”
A petition was launched by the East Devon Green Party to save the day centre, which provides a range of social activities for older people aged over 65 and respite care.
Local town councillor and Green Party member Sharon Pavey, who organised the petition, said: “This is devastating news for Honiton and for all the families and staff connected with the St Michael’s Day Centre.
“These centrally-imposed coalition cuts are demolishing our essential frontline services with the most vulnerable in our communities feeling the brunt. It’s hard to believe this much-loved centre which has been a lifeline for so many for decades will no longer continue.
“I’m very concerned about the lack of alternatives for the people who use the centre and the future of the staff losing their jobs. It’s a very sad week for Honiton.”
The Mayor of Honiton, Cllr Peter Halse, added: “If we can’t support care in our community we are back to self help.
“With so many elderly people it will put an intolerable weight on carers...”
“I am concerned about it and I am sorry that the county council has made that decision.”