Brent carer appeals to keep day care centre

But councillor says everyone who needs centre will have access to one

A CARER made an impassioned final plea to councillors not to force day care centre users into a community they are ill-equipped to deal with.

Anjna Manek, who cares for her sister, was close to tears as she appealed to Cllr Ruth Moher, lead member for adult, health and social care, to provide a venue in the south of the borough for people with learning disabilities to meet.

Alternatively, she proposed a trust was set-up consisting of representatives from the council, voluntary sector and private sector to manage care provision for those requiring both day centre and community based care.

She made the proposals following Brent’s Labour administration’s decision last month to close Stonebridge day centre, in Twybridge Way, and Strathcona day centre, in Strathcona Road.

The council says service users should be leading independent lives in the community, however separately it acknowledges it must make ruthless cuts after central government cut its budget by �94 million over the next four years.

Ironically the closure of the centres could force carers onto benefits should they have to give up their jobs as the new direct payments scheme is unlikely to cover full time care and activities.

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In what appears to be a concession by the council, Cllr Moher said if more building space is needed for service users existing community centres.

But fewer people are expected to be entitled to building-based care after their needs are assessed from March under new stricter criteria.

The two centres will be replaced by a single day centre in the north of the borough but around 45 of the 60 places will be taken by people with severe mental and physical disabilities from other centres that are also closing.

People with learning disabilities meet at the centres for activities while giving their carers a rest from their difficult roles or allowing them to work.