Centres for disabled adults face ‘cruel and destructive’ changes

Workers at Brooke Farm

Workers at Brooke Farm

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Plans to change a training centre for learning disabled adults in Linby have been blasted as ‘misguided, inhumane, cruel and destructive’.

Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) wants the 64 people who attend Brooke Farm in Linby, and units in Skegby and Balderton, to undertake a two-year training programme that will ‘fit them for employment or voluntary opportunities’.

Around 16 sets of parents and carers say the move has already caused ‘a huge amount of worry and stress’ and will ‘set people up to fail’, pressuring them into taking unsuitable jobs or be abandoned.

Geoffrey Garrod, of Mansfield, whose 37-year-old son James has attended Brooke Farm for 18 years, said: “If my son has to leave Brooke farm it will break his heart, he has been exceedingly happy there. It would more than likely lead to his health and happiness suffering badly.”

The move was, he said, “completely misguided, inhumane, cruel and destructive to the lives of the learning disabled adults and their families and carers, the very people that NCC says it wants to help.”

Mr Garrod said the closures of the Remploy factories and Sherwood Industries, as well as the competitive jobs market, would leave ‘the majority of the people being left to be reassessed by the DWP, thrown off any benefits they are on and just thrown onto the dole’.

And he believes the money NCC claims would be saved by the move would create additional financial stress further down the line. He added: “If anything this just proves the service already in existence should be enlarged not reduced. This is no reflection on the efforts of the staff at Brooke farm - they are bringing our disabled people along at the best pace that could possibly be achieved. I believe NCC has a legal duty to protect handicapped people placed in their care - not just throw them out.”

The Dispatch has contacted NCC and is awaiting their response.