Louth day centre under threat of cutbacks

The Warwick Road care centre in Louth
The Warwick Road care centre in Louth

A revamp in care centre provision in Lincolnshire has put a centre in Louth under threat, but the local authority insists there will be no loss of service or jobs.

Lincolnshire County Council have revealed that a proposal to merge day services for older and disabled people could see an used half of the Warwick Road unit shut to save £16,500 per year.

At present the authority use two adjacent industrial units in Warwick Road, both of which are currently being rented but only one is now being used, so the empty one is no longer required.

The plan includes merging a number of other care centres in places including Market Rasen, Boston and Sleaford.

Cllr Graham Marsh, Executive Member for Adult Social Care, said: “As the use of seven day centre buildings becomes increasingly unviable, a solution has been recommended which does the right thing by service users, taxpayers and the staff.

“The number of people visiting seven centres has significantly decreased. This is largely due to 90 per cent of eligible people being on Personal Budgets now and choosing to access their services elsewhere.

“For example, one unit is no longer used at all, whilst another building only has two people attending for one day per week.

“The rent and running costs of such buildings cannot therefore be justified.

“However, the priority is always the needs of the service users themselves which is why we’re recommending simply merging these same services and staff into existing centres nearby, many within walking distance. T

“There won’t be any service reduction or redundancies meaning a reassuringly smooth transition for all.”

The authority say 90 per cent of Lincolnshire’s eligible older and disabled people now enjoying the freedom of spending personal budgets, seven day centres in the county are operating with only a handful of users and standing unused for hours and even days every week.

However, the county council has confirmed that, as it recommends no longer using these buildings saving taxpayers £72,111 per year, the services will simply move to nearby centres.

Meanwhile, the authority is 10 months into its two-year project to find new providers for day services and is pleased at the levels of interest so far.

Cllr Marsh added: “In the longer term, we’re continuing to work hard on the future of day services countywide with alternative providers.

“We have had an encouraging level of interest from staff, service users, carers groups and the private sector about a number of the existing in-house services and still invite further interest.

“We are also seeing great interest in setting up new, more bespoke services in the county.”

It is proposed that the merging day services will happen with effect from April 2 2013. The future of all day services is still on course for being in place by March 2014.