Campaign to save dementia centres

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STAFF from three Sheffield dementia centres threatened with closure will urge councillors to keep the facilities open when they meet to approve their cost-cutting budget tomorrow.

Workers from Bole Hill View dementia resource centre in Crookes, Hurlfield View in Gleadless Common and Norbury in Fir Vale will stage a demonstration at the Town Hall at 1.30pm, as trade union Unison launches a campaign to save the centres.

The closure plans were exclusively revealed in The Star last month, after council officers had drawn up proposals to ‘decommission’ the buildings, which they said were ‘not fit for purpose’.

Mike Smith, chairman of NHS patient group Sheffield Link, said: “We’re concerned no-one was told of the plans to close these three centres.

“We think any changes need to be within the context of an overall health and social care plan for people with dementia.”

The ruling Labour council insists no decision has yet been taken on the proposals, despite the plans being included as a £385,000 saving in the budget which is set to be passed by councillors tomorrow.

Opposition Lib Dems have criticised the administration for keeping the plans a secret.

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Lib Dem leader, said: “I’m disappointed the leader of the council hasn’t got it in her heart to offer a simple apology.

“Dozens of vulnerable people across Sheffield have been extremely distressed by Labour’s actions.

“To find out about the threat of closure after the decision has been taken is unacceptable by anyone’s standards.”

Coun Julie Dore, council leader, said: “I appreciate people affected by dementia and their families will be anxious about these proposals and we have already taken steps to contact them and reassure them and we will continue to do so.

“I can give a clear commitment that these proposals will not lead to a lesser service and no decision about any of the three resource centres will be taken without consultation.”