Down’s Syndrome girl sobs over closure threat

Parents, carers and disabled users of The Chappell Centre and Cedar House. Chris Watts - who wants to take the fight to London ' is pictured front, left. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG111111-124TW

Parents, carers and disabled users of The Chappell Centre and Cedar House. Chris Watts - who wants to take the fight to London ' is pictured front, left. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG111111-124TW

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MAURICE Chappell – the son of the man who gave his name to The Chappell Centre – says families of service users must hold the county council to its guarantee that centres will not be axed until something suitable is put in their place.

A YOUNG woman with Down’s Syndrome sobbed at a packed public meeting as her mum pleaded with county council bosses to keep The Chappell Centre open.

Other parents vowed to take the fight to Parliament and County Hall in Lincoln by petitioning for a full council debate.

The Chappell Centre in Spalding’s Pinchbeck Road is one of 30 adult social care day centres facing the axe along with two respite centres, Cedar House - also in Pinchbeck Road – and Swallow Lodge at North Hykeham.

Around 90 people crammed into a room at The Chappell Centre to hear the council is switching service users to personal budgets and cannot afford to “double fund” by paying to run the centres as well.

County officials could not say what would be put in their place – or who might run the centres once the council washes its hands of them early next year.

But council executive councillor for adult social care Graham Marsh said: “No one’s services will be stopped until we have found, commissioned or sorted out additional services which are as good or better than you are getting now.”

Parent after parent explained how the threatened closures have deeply upset their disabled dependants and there are currently no suitable alternative care options.

At one point a dozen disabled people rose to their feet in a show of support for keeping The Chappell Centre open.

The Crowland mum of the Down’s Syndrome woman who cried about the closure told county officials: “I have just come along today because I feel you really can’t do this to them.

“Some of them have been coming here for years. You have just thrown their minds into a turmoil.”

The council says it costs £300,000 a year to run Cedar House but refused to say how much it costs for The Chappell Centre.

When asked about its running costs, Coun Marsh replied: “You would not expect me to know that.”

And council commissioning officer Shabana Naz claimed: “There are legal issues about putting that sort of information into the public domain because it is commercially sensitive.”

Market Deeping dad Chris Watts – whose son Daniel (18) receives care at Cedar House – was given a show of hands when he asked who would go with him to Parliament and County Hall to fight the cuts.

Mr Watts said: “Every breath I have got in my body is going to be for this.”