Council cuts force day centre closure

Manning Court Day Centre, Boston.
Manning Court Day Centre, Boston.

A day care centre for elderly and disabled people in Boston will shut as council chiefs revealed plans to cope with more Government cuts.

Manning Court is one of seven units across the county deemed to be ‘underused’ and ‘unviable’, especially in the current economic climate.

The 10 people who currently used the centre, on Wide Bargate, will be moved to another Lincolnshire County Council facility at Field Street. The service merge is expected to have taken place by April 2.

Coun Graham Marsh, the council’s executive member for adult social care, said: “As the use of seven day centre buildings becomes increasingly unviable, a solution has been recommendaed which does the right thing by service-users, taxpayers and the staff.

“The number of people visiting seven centres has significantly decreased. The rent and running costs of such buildings cannot, therefore, be justified.

“There won’t be any service reduction or redundancies, meaning a reasuringly smooth transition for all.”

The closure of these centres will save the council more than £72,000 a year, it has been claimed. Shutting Manning Court will save £7,460 a year.

A change in the funding of social care has been given as the reason for the decline in use of some of these centres. Around 90 per cent of eligible elderly and disabled people now receive money through personal budgets, meaning they have the freedom to choose where they access services, rather than simply being allocated a place.

There were 18 people accessing services at Manning Court, but the number has now almost halved, and it has been running under capacity for the past six months.

Field Street is also under subscribed, with 10 users, but the council took the decision to move services there as it is a ‘superior’ building which is more suited for disabled access.

The authority is trying to find companies to take on day care services, and hopes that by merging services in this way, it will make them more desirable.

A spokesman for the county council said: “This move will bring it near capacity. This, in turn, will make it an even more attractive and viable service for an alternative provider to take over and we still encourage people to come forward.”

Discussions are underway with several ‘interested parties’, from the private sector, he added.

However, he was unable to confirm that all services would be retained when a new provider was found, adding it would not be right to comment at this time, as the process was still on-going.

The closure of these seven day centres in Lincolnshire will come just a year after the council safeguarded the future of facilities following ‘unprecedented’ public support.

Thousands of people signed a petition calling for all 31 of the county’s authority-run day centres to remain open, following announcements some of the sites were under threat last winter.

At the time, Coun Graham Marsh confirmed a process had begun to find outside bodies to take over the running of the centres and said there had been several expressions of interest.

Funding was allocated to support the centres over the next two years, in a bid to help them gain interest from businesses, social enterprises and other bodies.