Anger over disabled centre closure plans

Protesting about the closure of the day centre in Hexthorpe, are, from left, Brenda Adey, John Jennings, Jean Jennings, Pat Burgin, Keith Burgin, Terry Birley, Lynne Fletcher and Diane Birley.
Protesting about the closure of the day centre in Hexthorpe, are, from left, Brenda Adey, John Jennings, Jean Jennings, Pat Burgin, Keith Burgin, Terry Birley, Lynne Fletcher and Diane Birley.
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ANGRY families claim they are losing a vital social lifeline under plans to close a Doncaster day centre for disabled adults.

Doncaster Council is looking to shut the Travis Gardens Centre, Hexthorpe, after seeing its budgets slashed.

Protesters have set up a petition opposing the July closure. A meeting for service users was due to be held in the centre this evening.

Protester Di Birley’s 32-year-old son Paul Dixon, of Mexborough, has used the centre since 1997.

She said: “Our reaction to this is one of total devastation. It will rip apart the lives of those who use the centre. They need the stimulation and excitement it brings and the community support of their peers they get by attending.

“They are talking about giving people a means tested grant so carers can take them on a day out every now and again, but that is not socialising - it is one to one. They need the environment where they have their friends around.”

She said the council has been unable to give her contact numbers for other families who use the centre because of data protection rules, and is appealing for other centre users to contact her to discuss what can be done in the future to arrange any alternative social events.

Di can be contacted on by emailing gymqueen56@hotmail.com or calling 07836 778 707.

The centre provides respite care for adults with learning and physical disabilities. It also organises social trips for its users.

Doncaster Council adult services boss Joan Beck said: “The needs of the service users are first and foremost and it is important that we move forward to enhance and modernise the services they receive and give them greater flexibility and independence in their choices.

“We need to cater for the needs of every service user.

“We believe this will be better achieved through offering them Personalised Budgets to enable a better, more individualised and person centred service.”

Peter Davies, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “The decision to close the resource centre may be unsettling for some current service users and their families but we are committed to supporting them to ensure they can still continue to participate in the activities they enjoy but with greater flexibility. I will be keeping the changes under close scrutiny.”