Kenton care centre is a step closer to being built

Service users mark the start of construction work

A new centre for people with learning disabilities is a step closer to being built.

On Friday (Sept 30) service users officially broke the ground to mark the start of construction work at John Billam Playing Fields, in Woodcock Hill, Kenton.

The site will be the new home of the John Billam Community Resource Centre for people with learning disabilities.

Cllr Ruth Moher (Labour), lead member for adults and health, said: “This is a long way from the institutions that we have been used to and promotes independence rather than dependence.

“Most people will not stay at John Billam all day, but will meet there to go out and do what everyone else does, taking into account their own capabilities and needs.

“This might include working, paid or unpaid, or simply going to the park or a swimming pool with a support worker. The building will also be available for the wider community and is excellent value for money.”

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Brent Council came under fire last year when it voted to close three popular day centres in the borough. They were Stonebridge Day Centre, in Twybridge Way, Stonebridge, Strathcone Day Centre, in Strathcona Road, Wembley and Albert Road Day Centre, in Kilburn.

The council always said it would provide care at the new centre in Kenton but there will only be 60 places at one time. The local authority wants people to try out different activities within the community which will be paid for out of direct payments.

Outside of daytime hours, the new centre will be available to the wider community for clubs, meetings and leisure activities.

It will have a caf�, specialist treatment rooms, office space, atrium, sensory garden and landscaped outdoor area.

The building and the playing fields are named after the late John Billam, who was a councillor and also a mayor of the former Borough of Wembley.

Cllr Moher said: “The overall approach is based around personal budgets, which is where people who use services, or their carers, choose and pay for their own care with a budget allocated to them by the council through direct payments and is based on the level of support they need.”