Concern over Rustington day centre is raised

CARERS and volunteers voiced their concerns over the future of council-run day centres at a meeting – with a Rustington site among those they claim is in jeopardy.

More than 60 people attended the West Sussex County Council consultation in the Steyning Centre, in Fletchers Croft, Steyning, where care staff heard options for the future of the council’s day centres for the elderly, including those living with dementia.

Margaret Guest, chairman of the Don’t Cut Us Out Campaign, said: “The council is deceiving the public with mis-named strategies like Age with Confidence, Better Health, and Dementia Strategy, when in reality, the only strategy is one of cost cutting.

“Having closed three of its 11 day centres in the last round of cuts, it is now clear the council intends to slash a further £1.2million from its day care and respite services budget for older people.

“That means further closures of essential day services for the elderly.”

According to Don’t Cut Us Out, centres under review include The Laurels, in Sheep Fold Avenue, Rustington, the Glebelands Centre, in Middle Road, Shoreham, and the Rowans Centre, in Steeple View, Worthing. The centres did not wish to comment at this time.

A council spokesman said: “Evidence shows that people are making different choices in how they spend their personal budgets and direct payments.

“These choices are increasingly not traditional day care, but a range of more flexible activities and arrangements for respite for carers.

“The only day centre to be under review currently is Henfield, because it has very low occupancy.

“A dementia commission-ing strategy is underway and this will inform the role of day centres in the future.”

The campaign is pressing the council to reconsider its approach to day care, and to ‘balance its appreciation and knowledge of the costs with a better understanding of the value that day centres for the elderly provide to the community’.

For the full story, see this week’s Gazette (Thursday. May 22).