Day care plea

Save Our Centre campaigners
Save Our Centre campaigners

CAMPAIGNERS are demanding an end to mental health day care centre closures in Wigan.

Day centre service users and carers have formed a pressure group and presented adult services chiefs with their own blueprint for the future.

Their report on the future of the service is a response to Wigan Council’s own consultation on the modernisation of mental health day services which they claim is “totally inadequate, rushed and seriously flawed” and breaches Government legislation on ‘meaningful’ consultation.

The current proposals to replace day care provision with personalisation care is said to have “serious flaws despite good intentions”.

The group says that the closure of two existing centres – Pemberton’s Tunstall House and Ashton Richmond Fellowship in Gerard Street – over the New Year has already reduced choice and increase social isolation.

They are calling for a “significant built in transitional phase” before any more changes in provision.

The four remaining main day care centres are:

• WIGAN Day Service (Coops in Dorning Street).

• HINDLEY Day Service (Hyndelle Lodge, King Street).

• PEMBERTON Day Service (Ridyard Street).

• LEIGH Day Service in Charles Street.

Services are also in place in Atherton and Ashton and are run from existing community resources like cafes, community centre and other places agreed with members including, in one instance, a public house.A spokesman for the group said: “Many users are elderly and caring is a very demanding and challenging role which is often forgotten or not fully recognised.

“The centres provide much needed support to carers by allowing them some respite from caring with the reassurance of known that the people they care for are in a safe and supportive environment.”

Council Service Director for Personalisation and Partnerships Stuart Cowley said: “We welcome and value the contribution that people with mental health problems are making to help to shape the future of Mental Health Day Opportunities in the Borough of Wigan.

“The time and effort given to putting views forward, seeking representation and articulating possible approaches are to be positively acknowledged.

As the report identifies, people often find change difficult For this reason the council is working and will continue to work with others to ensure that the changes that are to take place will be mindful of the need to support people in ways that help them to remain well, assists with steps towards recovery, builds on social inclusion and helps them to meet their goals.”

Chairman of the Metro’s Adult Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee Coun Nigel Ash said: “Having previously met representatives of this group I know how strongly they feel about retaining day centres throughout the borough.

“As a result of it, if I am re-elected, I will ask for this issue to be brought before the committee after the May elections. Councillors will then be able to hear both the group’s views and those of Adult Services.”