Friday 12 July 2024
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Nottingham

Councillors’ ‘great sadness’ at proposed closure of Clifton’s Summerwood Day Centre

Summerwood Day Service, in Clifton, provides opportunities and support to people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities to help them lead healthy independent lives. It offers tailored individual arrangements to meet your specific needs.

Nottingham City Council has reviewed facilities across the city and proposed that the day centre in Clifton should be closed, they say there will be ‘sufficient capacity’ across three other centres.

The Nottingham Independent Group, City Councillors for the Clifton East
Ward said:

‘It was with great sadness that we today learned that Nottingham City Council had publically proposed the incomprehensible decision to permanently close Summerwood Adult Day Centre in Clifton.

 

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‘Summerwood is one of only three Adult Day Centres across the whole of Nottingham and the only day centre servicing the 28,000 population of Clifton.

‘It provides opportunities and support to people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities to help them lead healthy independent lives. The centre aims to develop, maintain and prevent the loss of a person’s independence by enabling them to rebuild their confidence, their social skills and their overall quality of life.

 

‘The work that Summerwood undertakes is invaluable and we can say from personal experience that the staff that work there are utterly incredible. This closure is not only ill thought out but is frankly cruel, targeting the people who are most vulnerable to this crisis we all currently face.

 

‘While we recognise that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to financial issues for all local authorities, not just Nottingham City Council, it is our belief that budget cuts can be made in such a way that doesn’t punish those who are most in need of help and support.

 

‘We would like to remind your readers that in the same year that the Council’s ruling group unanimously voted to defund this vital service, they also approved the decision to give themselves a pay rise.

‘This pay rise comes in a period where the Council announced losses of upwards of £9m on the doomed Broadmarsh project and a staggering £38m with Robin Hood Energy. And yet, while those responsible for these financial catastrophes get a pay rise, it is those without a voice of their own who must pay the price.

 

‘Following the fallout from the Robin Hood Energy debacle, both the independent auditor Grant Thornton and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Public Interest Report, found Nottingham City Council to not only be failing in the area of financial management but also in its responsibilities towards scrutiny and accountability. The Council fully accepted these accusations and committed to resolving them. At the same time the Council undertook a public consultation regarding its proposals for an interim budget, proposals which included the closing of one of Nottingham’s adult day centres.

 

‘Although an organisation committed to resolving issues of accountability should be expected to take the results of a public consultation seriously, that has not been the case here. The consultation received an unprecedented 232 responses, 160 of which were directly relating to the issue of day centre closures. Of those 160, 97% expressed overwhelmingly negative opinions of the proposal and, like us, believe that it would be unnecessarily harmful to those at most risk during this already difficult time.

 

‘We would encourage your readers to view some of the responses to the consultation. They include dozens and dozens of heartfelt messages from medical professionals, Summerwood users and their families, alongside people who have been moved to speak up, all praising the work of Summerwood and warning of the damage that removing these services will do to the people who can least afford it.

 

‘Despite this strength of feeling, the results of the public consultation have been disregarded and the decision to close the day centre has passed regardless.

 

‘What Nottingham City Council’s decision makers may say is a necessary evil, we would argue it is simply borderline callousness. While we may just be minority Councillors, we argue that it is the job first and foremost of any Council to protect services like Summerwood and that is what we firmly intend to do.’

Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, Cllr Adele Williams told The Wire: “We understand people’s concerns about this proposal but want to reassure service users and their families that no-one who is currently or would normally be accessing a day centre will be left without provision.

“It’s also important to make clear that no decisions have been taken yet – a consultation has only just been launched and will run until the end of March and we want to hear people’s views. We are also inviting citizens and their families to join us for online meetings but we will support families without online access to share their views.

“The proposal is part of the difficult decisions we are having to make following years of cuts to our funding from Government.

“We have responded to this with a long and detailed review into day care provision across the city, and we are now consulting on this proposal. We need to refocus our resources to respond to what current support is needed to help people to be more involved in their communities, access leisure, volunteering and so on.

“Summerwood service users would be able to access similar services at two other day centres if the decision is taken to close this one. Day centres will always be part of any community offer, but increasingly young adults are making other choices.”

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