Campaigners save Kilburn day centre from closure

Town hall chiefs back track on controverisal proposals

RED-faced council chiefs have been forced to shelve plans to close a day care centre for dementia sufferers following a public outcry.

Camden Council wielded the axe over the Netherwood Day Centre, in Netherwood Road, Kilburn, under plans to slash �16million from adult social care spending over the next four years.

Under the controversial cost-cutting proposals, the day centre would have merged with Raglan House, two miles away in Kentish Town.

But the council revealed on Tuesday that the plans have been shelved for ‘up to’ three years while they work up plans to develop a new, purpose built dementia centre in Kentish town.

Jane Clinton, whose father John, 67, suffers from Alzheimer’s and uses the centre, said: “It was upsetting to have to fight tooth and nail to keep a centre which is a beacon of best practice.

“But it is with a great sense of personal achievement that I fought to keep this centre open on behalf of my father, who could not fight the campaign himself.

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“We welcome the news that Netherwood has had this reprieve, and that Camden has listened to the people who go there and their carers.”

Ms Clinton, who credits with transforming her father’s life, spearheaded a popular campaign to save it and some 3,000 residents, including TV comedian Ricky Gervais, signed a petition to the town hall.

The immediate future of Netherwood was saved after Camden PCT stepped in to provide �200,000 to help fund it. The council will provide a further �50,000.

Under new plans the council propose to re-develop Greenwood Place in Kentish Town to include a purpose built dementia centre where people from Netherwood will eventually be cared for.

Sounding a note of caution, Ms Clinton added: “We want to look at the options of keeping Netherwood open, and a guarantee that Greenwood will have facilities which surpass Netherwood’s.”

Pat Callaghan, Camden Council’s lead member for adult social care, said she backtracked on the plans after realising the deep attachment people at Netherwood felt towards their centre.

She said: “We visited and met a woman who tended the garden and she was in tears when she was told s hew wouldn’t be able to do it anymore.

“They all felt bereft. When you sit down and listen to these people you can see the impact of moving them to another service.”