Age UK Sheffield has called for urgent talks over Sheffield Council’s plans to close the city’s last remaining dementia respite centre.
Sheffield Council plans to close Hurlfield View in Gleadless, a specialist respite centre for people with dementia and for their carers, by March 2017.
Charity bosses have raised concerns around the provision of dementia services if the centre is closed.
A petition – signed by 4,000 people in just two weeks – is urging the council not to close the centre. If it reaches 5,000, the plans will be debated by councillors.
One woman who cares for her husband with dementia, said: “If this centre goes, I honestly don’t know what I’ll do. It’s the only place where you can book ahead and get some vital hours to recharge your batteries away from your full-time care duties.
“I would have to ring around beg and plead other care homes to take my husband for a few hours.”
Another woman who signed the petition said: “This centre was a blessing to our family when we needed it the most. Others deserve to have their lives improved with their care and respite opportunities.”
Age UK Sheffield also operates a specialist day centre for people living with memory loss and dementia, supported by the council.
The charity is seeking talks to expand its service to accommodate some of the service users displaced when Hurlfield View closes, and is willing to move its operation to Hurlfield View or another suitable site.
The centre is to shut after NHS bosses told Sheffield Council they could no longer carry out the services for next year due to a ‘more and more challenging’ financial situation.
Sheffield Council has taken the decision to move to its longer-term strategy for dementia care in the community and away from centres earlier than planned.
Age UK Sheffield chief executive Steve Chu said: “It is clear that the current services provided by Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust at Hurlfield View will end in their current form in March 2017.
“I am concerned there are not enough day services in Sheffield for people living with memory loss, nor is there enough support for carers, many of whom are older people themselves.
“We would like to work with Sheffield Council to find a way to increase the amount of good quality services available if possible, either at Hurlfield View or at other suitable sites.”
Coun Cate McDonald, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “Age UK do some great work in Sheffield. We are happy to meet them, and any other care providers, to talk about their proposals for the future of the service.”