Carers in Christmas Plea for Day Centre

Campaigners vow to fight on despite shock closing date

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A heartfelt appeal to give "one last Christmas" to elderly people at the Chiswick Day Centre, has been made as the Council announced the centre would close at the end of the month.

Carers said they had been told the centre would close its doors by November 1st but transport and hot food would be stopped over the next fortnight. Some have allegedly received phone calls telling them they would be unable to use the centre from Friday next ( 21st October).

Laura Sophie Ware who leads the Friends of Chiswick Day Centre campaign against closure said carers were devastated when they heard the latest news. She has written to Hounslow Council to ask that the closure be delayed until after Christmas, so that elderly users can spend the holiday together.

"The users of the centre go there because most of them don't have family, and the only friends they have are at the centre." she says in a letter to Councillor Gurmail Lal of the Adult Social Care committee.

She added that no viable alternatives had been found, despite assurances from the Council.

The Council has said that it needs to save £60million by 2015 due to government cutbacks. The social services cuts are due to save £1.6million a year .

Chiswick councillor John Todd ( Conservative), who has campaigned against closure, has claimed the Council could use a £2.2 million VAT repayment this year to help keep the centre open.

"Decent elder citizens of Chiswick have become pawns in a tawdry political game" he commented.

"They and their devoted carers are being put through continued stress and uncertainty".

The Friends of Chiswick Day Centre have pledged to keep up the fight against closing the centre and said they are seeking legal action on the possibility of a judicial review.

A council spokesman said: “The provision of our transport buses will continue to the 28th October for Mainstream Residents. Residents requiring transport to attend the day Centre on 31st October will be supported to arrange other means of transport which could include taxis.

“Hot meals are provided on a daily basis and will continue to be available until the Centre closes on the 31 October 11.

“All service users have had a Resident Led Review and those living with the experience of dementia have been offered a place at Heston Day Centre. Personal Budgets have been offered to everyone eligible to receive one. Residents who are more independent have discussed what they can do, many already attend a variety of other activities.”

October 12, 2011