Age UK Sheffield have called for urgent talks over Sheffield Council's plans to close the city's last remaining dementia respite centre.
Sheffield Council said they would be closing 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 for good.
A petition which has raised 4,000 signatures in just two weeks, is urging the council not to close the centre. If it reaches 5,000 signatures, the plans will have to be debated by councillors.
One woman who cares for her husband with dementia, told The Star closing the centre is a 'false economy'.
The woman, who didn't wished to be named, 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 and it will only add to the huge amount of stress."
One 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 who will be displaced when Hurlfield View closes, and is willing to move its operation to Hurlfield View or another suitable site.
The centre plans 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.
The Hurlfield contract was put out to tender in 2015 and was secured by the Trust to run until 2018.
But two months ago, NHS bosses contacted the council to say they could not continue the level of support.
Council bosses previously said they are confident they would find alternative arrangements and will work alongside families and centre users.
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 that 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.”
The 'Save Hurlfield View petition can be signed here
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