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Dementia day care centre in Kilburn faces a third fight to stay open

PUBLISHED: 09:49 25 January 2017 | UPDATED: 09:49 25 January 2017

Jane Clinton with her father John outside Netherwood Day Centre

Jane Clinton with her father John outside Netherwood Day Centre

Dieter Perry

A specialist centre in Kilburn for residents suffering from dementia is facing closure for the third time in six years.

The axe is being wielded over the Netherwood Day Centre in Netherwood Road, as part of cuts by Camden Council.

The facility was previously threatened with closure in 2011 and 2012 but thanks to a campaign led by Jane Clinton it was allowed to remain open.

Ms Clinton credits the centre with transforming the life of her father John who suffers from dementia.

Mr Clinton is sadly now too ill to attend the centre but his daughter, a freelance journalist from Parliament Hill, has to fight for its survival once again.

She said: “It breaks my heart that we have to keep defending the centre and fighting to keep it open.

“In the current climate where the landscape of dementia has not improved it is horrifying that the council would like to get rid of a specialist centre like this.

“It’s the only one like this in Camden where the users can walk around freely and be completely relaxed.

“The council will say it’s underused but this is down to its referral system. I want to market the centre so more people will use it.”

In 2011 Camden council were forced to withdraw its plans to shut the building after thousands of people signed petitions calling for it to be saved.

The following year an identical proposal was opposed by a host of stars including author Sir Terry Pratchett, theatre director and author Sir Jonathan Miller, TV comedian Ricky Gervais, writer Alan Bennett, actor Sylvester McCoy and actress Angela Griffin.

Ms Clinton said she fears the centre is being targeted because the land it is on is valuable.

She said: “Netherwood has always been very vulnerable because of the land issue.

“It could be sold off to property developers for a lot of money.

“Once we have lost this centre it will never come back.”

Councillor Georgia Gould, Camden Council’s cabinet member for young people, adults and health said: “There is a growing national crisis in adult social care and we need to act now to reduce the impact in Camden.

“In this tough financial climate we need to make the most of every pound we spend. The number of people using our day centres has reduced over recent years, and we also have several day centres which offer similar services.

“We are proposing to reduce the number of day centres from which we provide services, without reducing the level of the service provided. For some people, this may mean that their current service would be provided from a different building.”

An online petition calling for the centre to be saved has attracted almost 1,000 signatures so far.

To sign the petition click here.

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