United churches would like key questions addressed

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There has been prolific attention in the local press recently about the anticipated closure of the Chappell Centre in Pinchbeck Road, Spalding, and other day centres and respite care centres for people with learning and other disabilities county-wide.

This letter represents the views of all the churches of Churches Together in Spalding and District.

CTSD acknowledges the extreme financial pressure on the county council’s budget. However, we would like to convey our grave concerns regarding this proposal.

Firstly, the clients of these centres rely utterly on the resources and social benefits provided in them. They are already disadvantaged, being both susceptible and, in most cases, lacking business or fiscal acumen, and this move would cause significant trauma and disruption of routine and consistency.

Secondly, the families and carers of the clients, many of them ageing, would be obliged to seek appropriate care elsewhere. Yet, if these centres cease to exist, the pool of available support, guidance and assistance would be so radically diminished as to cause considerable distress for all concerned in the search for apposite alternative care.

Thirdly, one of the adverse social consequences of such closures would likely be clients walking the streets and, in other ways, finding themselves at risk from society at large, simply by not being at the day and respite centres. This will surely pose safeguarding issues for this vulnerable sector of our local society. Additionally, those who simply stay at home will experience a negative impact from lack of stimulation and social contact.

We therefore request that Lincolnshire County Council, to whom this letter has been sent, seriously and urgently reconsider this matter.

There are three key questions we would like addressed:

nWhat are the real reasons behind the proposal – are they only financial, or are there other, underlying factors?

nHas the decision to close already been made, regardless of the views and anxieties of local people?

nWhere is help to come from i.e. where can clients purchase their care?

Anthony Walker

Clergy Chair, CTSD, representing: Spalding Baptist Church, St Paul’s Church, Broad Street Methodist, South Holland Community Church, St Mary & St Nicolas, St Gilbert & St Hugh, Gosberton Clough, Lighthouse Pentecostal Church, St John the Baptist, St Thomas’s Road Methodist, St Norbert’s Roman Catholic Church, Religious Society of Friends, All Saints’ Church, Moulton, United Reformed Church, St Peter & St Paul, Gosberton, Gosberton Baptist, Salvation Army.