Public consultation extended for threatened day centre in Willesden

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, lead member for adults, health and wellbeing with Brian McCathy and service use

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, lead member for adults, health and wellbeing with Brian McCathy and service user he'll be separated from should the centre be closed to them. - Credit: Archant

Disabled campaigners have won a small reprieve with council bosses promising to extend a consultation against plans to close their vital centre in Willesden.

MP Barry Gardiner with Sonia Bronfield and Sandra Duke

MP Barry Gardiner with Sonia Bronfield and Sandra Duke - Credit: Archant

Services at the New Millennium Day Centre in Robson Avenue, the only place in the borough where people with differing disabilities can come together, are set to be axed as part of the council’s £54m

Cllr Mohammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, Cllr Krupesh Hirani, lead member for adults, health and well being, Phil Porter strategic director of adult social care for Brent Council, Barry Gardiner Labour MP for Brent North and Cllr Reg Colwill, conservative councillor for Kenton, all came to the centre on Monday to hear users and their carers’ plea to remain open.

Questions were raised in the packed hall over how much of a saving would the council make if they re provide the same services elsewhere, about social services badly assessing patients as needing no care at all and the high cost of private care, the only alternative for many.

Council bosses agreed to hold a three month consultation with them after March 4, where, said Cllr Butt, they would “talk to each and every one of you,” before making a final decision. He added: “If all that comes out of that consultation is that the impact is going to be too negative then it would mean that we would have to take that section out. There’s no way we could put this in motion and make it negative for all these users.”

Cllr Mohammed Butt, leader of the council, with Urmi Shah and Kanchan Shah

Cllr Mohammed Butt, leader of the council, with Urmi Shah and Kanchan Shah - Credit: Archant

He added the council had £12 million in reserves but warned that they were setting only a two-year budget so would have to bring other things forward to compensate for keeping their service in the NHS owned building.

Mr Gardiner said the council had unpalatable decisions to make, adding: “I hope the council heard what they said and will take it on board. We are talking about people who are the most vulnerable in our community.

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“If we are in politics we are there especially to fight for the vulnerable and those who can’t fight for themselves.”

Cllr Colwill said he would fight tooth and nail for the centre.

He added: “There’s no need for these centres to be closed whatsoever. The need in Brent is huge. The money can be found and they should not be hitting the health service and the elderly people.”

Cassie Hawkes, member of the New Millenium Day Centre Committee, said: “We’ve been through this before. We can’t leave this day centre, we’ll take drastic measures to defend it.”

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