Our care centres could be SAVED

In front of the Chappell Centre with their petition are Maurice Chappell, Michael Lee, Vera Chappell and Sheila Lee.
In front of the Chappell Centre with their petition are Maurice Chappell, Michael Lee, Vera Chappell and Sheila Lee.
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CLOSURE-threatened day care and respite care homes in Spalding and Bourne could be saved under new proposals being put forward by county council bosses.

Families of people with severe learning difficulties and physical disabilities feared they would lose the vital support of the Chappell Centre and Cedar House in Spalding and Bourne Day Centre under cost-cutting plans.

However, Lincolnshire County Council staff yesterday offered a reprieve and are now rethinking their plans.

Terry Hawkins, interim assistant director for Adult Social Care Commissioning, said: “We have listened to what people have told us about what they trust, value and want.

“Consequently, rather than physically closing existing centres from which such support is provided, we’re recommending a model which sees centres and services stay open if well utilised, with existing staff or private firms supported to continue running them in the same buildings.”

The full proposals are expected to be revealed in the next few days in a report being considered by the county’s Adult Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday.

So far the authority has said proposals include working to keep buildings open and supporting existing staff or a private business who wish to take day centres on as a viable support service.

In respite centres like Cedar House, the recommendations would see commission private providers in each unit and work to enhance access to the units for people with a variety of needs, whilst also making it more affordable.

The authority also says it is “confident” those currently receiving support through the in-house Community Supported Living service – help to live independently at home – can use the private market.

Mr Hawkins added: “While the fact remains that, in these tough times, the authority cannot continue to directly run or commission services which may result in double-funding or places not being used, we remain committed to providing access to support which meets people’s needs.

“What we’ve learned from our extensive consultation is that a building and the set-up is just as important to people as the services themselves.

“We will therefore be using resources and a support team to help empower people to take control and continue to have their needs met in a way of their choosing.

“We’ll be looking to achieve this by March 2014 – and will continue to run each service until alternatives are available.”

Maurice Chappell and Michael Lee will address the Adult Scrutiny Committee and present a petition with more than 5,800 signatures from their campaign to save the Chappell Centre.

A final decision on the adult social care proposals will be made by the county council’s Executive on March 6.