“HOW could they even consider it?”
That was the sentiment of dozens of furious carers and healthworkers who descended on Sheffield Town Hall, to protest against the proposed closure of the city’s last three Sheffield Council-run dementia centres.
Councillors insist no decision has yet been made about the future of the three centres - Bole Hill View dementia resource centre in Crookes, Hurlfield View in Gleadless Common and Norbury in Fir Vale - and say a full consultation process will be carried out before anything happens.
But last night they approved a budget which included £385,000 of savings they will make if they close the centres.
Pam Lee, whose 88-year-old mother from Jordanthorpe has been visiting Hurlfield View for the last 10 years, said: “Closing the centre will mean my mother has no social interaction at all.
“The staff are very specialised so they know exactly what her limitations are and what she needs.
“They keep her mind active and she has the chance to interact with others.
“If they take that away she will become isolated.
“It just seems crazy - where are all these people going to go?”
Jeff Glaves, 83, from Charnock, also relies on Hurlfield View, where his wife is a regular visitor.
He said: “My wife goes in for respite and it’s a real help.
“I know the council has to make cuts but picking on elderly people with dementia is terrible.
“They say private homes are cheaper - but I can’t see how that can be true. And we can’t afford to pay any more.”
The council says alternative care will be provided if the three centres - which they say are ‘not fit for purpose’ - do close.
But the future is unclear for more than 200 members of staff.
A staff member from Norbury said: “We are all upset and disappointed that it is coming to this, again.
“These centres have been closing down one by one for years, and these are the last three.
“We have a real rapport with the clients - they look at us as family.”