Much to look forward to for day-centre users

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NOTTS County Council has agreed to focus its day services on 13 new, multi-purpose centres across Nottinghamshire and launch a £4 million modernisation programme.

This investment will build on the £1.7 million already committed to developing the Eastgate service in Worksop. The decision means a number of older day-centres will close, including that at Spring Street in Hucknall.

We’ll work to establish a new, shared-use style of service that provides the best possible facilities in a relaxed, pleasant and friendly environment. These new, improved surroundings will be there to be enjoyed by older people and those with learning and physical disabilities alike.

It’s a progressive model that’s already working very well, for example, at Willow Wood, in Sutton. Launched as a shared-use pilot project more than six months ago, Willow Wood now caters for older people as well as adults with physical and learning disabilities.

There’s a comfortable, community feel to the place that has encouraged those using the service to form new friendships. Those who currently use the day services at Spring Street and Jubilee Court, in Hucknall, as well as Kirklands in Kirkby and at Selston, will transfer to Willow Wood.

We’re looking to bottle this Willow Wood success and repeat the formula across the whole of the county. We’re also going to make these better day-services more available to local communities, opening them up in the evenings and at weekends.

We want to ensure the new services are fully used. The fact that our current day-services have not been operating at their building capacity makes it difficult to justify keeping all the centres open.

We have to make better use of resources. Having most of our day services running at less than half empty simply doesn’t square with this financial reality. Operating day services at such a low level of capacity just couldn’t continue.

In introducing a new-style, multi-purpose day service and investing in facilities, we’re looking to deliver a positive consumer-experience that will attract more people to a range of activities to suit all tastes.

The service users of today and the future are going to demand so much more from their care. The changes to our day services are designed to meet this modern demand.

Councillors have also decided to make it as comfortable for people as possible to get to their new day service. Anyone who has to travel to a new service will not have to pay any more for their transport than they do currently and if they don’t need to travel at all at present, we’ll get them there for free.

We’re confident this is the right direction for the future of our day services. That it represents not only a more efficient and cost-effective way of running things but, with new investment, will also actually deliver a better-quality product.

The council is also looking to help introduce new, alternative providers of day-care activities to widen choice and develop more options for the growing number of people using personal budgets to manage their own care.

Having said this, we certainly appreciate we’re dealing with people here and vulnerable people at that. We know how much they appreciate their day services. We understand that change can bring uncertainty and, at first, maybe a few more questions than answers.

Day services are going to be different, certainly, but in Nottinghamshire, they’re actually going to be of a much better quality than before. Believe me, there’s going to be much to look forward to from the new day services.

COUN KEVIN ROSTANCE (Con),

of Hucknall,

Cabinet member for adult

social care and health,

Notts County Council.