Kingsbury mental health day care centre faces closure

Health chiefs are proposing to close the only centre which specialised in caring for the Asian community

Health chiefs are proposing to close a day care centre for people with mental health problems as part of a shake up of services.

Brent Council has begun consulting on shutting the Kingsbury Manor Mental Health Day Care Centre, in Roe Green Park – the only centre in Brent which specialises in offering care and support to the Asian community.

Under the plans, the 60 people currently using the centre would be redirected to find health and support within mainstream community wherever appropriate, or be paid directly to find the support individually, elsewhere.

An administrative office in Harlesden may also close under the proposals.

Alison Elliott, assistant director of community care, said that the council’s network of building based services fostered a ‘dependence’ on centres which the closure would help people to overcome.

She said: “About two years ago Brent mental health services made a commitment to move away from a traditional model of building based services.

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“The strategy is to support people to be much more independent in the community, but because we kept that building base, it made it much more difficult to do that.

“Our view is that many people become dependent on that building.”

A Brent Council spokesman estimated that the closure will save it �1.25 million, but insisted that while the decision was brought forward because of the ‘context of cuts’, it is part of a planned review of adult social care provision.

Up to 23 people who work at the centre, which provides counselling, group support and other activities, face losing their jobs if the closure gets voted through. Although, two new support worker roles will be created, and the council said there may be ‘opportunities for staff to be redeployed’.

The proposal comes after the council pushed ahead with plans to shut two day care centres for people with learning disabilities in Stonebridge and Strathcona, despite opposition from service users and their carers.

Ms Elliott said the closures should be seen as part of a wider move towards personalised care and direct payments.

She said: “Adult social care is going through a transformation which started with the national ‘putting people first’ agenda. Part of that is ensuring people have much more independence and control for the services that are providing to them.

“We are moving away from providing a day service in that traditional form and providing people with advice and guidance and sign post them to community facilities.”

It is expected the final closure proposal will be put to Brent Council in May.

A spokesman from the mental health charity Brent Mind said he was unable to comment on the proposal without seeing the details.

If you are affected by the proposed closure contact or 0207 433 6244