Mencap campaigns to keep Moreton Day Centre open

  • People with a learning disability not adequately consulted by Council
  • 100% of people with a learning disability surveyed enjoy attending Moreton Day Centre

mencap_logoAs a money-saving exercise, Wirral Borough Council is threatening to close Moreton Day Centre, which provides vital care and support for 133 people with a learning disability in Wirral. Learning disability charity Mencap has submitted a report to the consultation on the proposed closure of Moreton Day Centre.

Working in partnership with Wirral Mencap, the charity met with people with a learning disability who attend the day centre, their parents and carers. It was felt that Wirral Borough Council’s consultation had not done enough to consult with people with a learning disability who use the service. There had not been an adequate easy-read document made available and people who use the service were confused about what was happening.

Mencap took the decision to create an easy-read document to understand how people with a learning disability really felt about the centre and its proposed closure, and then presented their findings in a consultation report to the Council. The survey found that:

  • 100% of people with a learning disability enjoyed attending Moreton Day Centre
  • 100% of people were happy with the staff at Moreton Day Centre

Chloe Harvey from Wirral Mencap says:

“Moreton Day Centre should be celebrated for the range of opportunities it provides for people with a learning disability. The staff provide exemplary support and the people who attend the centre cherish the service.

“Fifty of its members have gained voluntary work placements through Moreton Day Centre, which is hugely significant as only 7% of people with a learning disability in the UK are in work. These placements enable people with a learning disability to be valued members of society, and without the day centre, they could lose their placements and end up being stuck at home, isolated from their community.”

Mencap research shows that nearly a third of local authorities have closed day services in the last three years, leaving 1 in 4 adults with a learning disability stuck at home. Of these closed services, 1 in 5 are not offering any form of alternative service.

Stephen John, Regional Campaigns Officer for Mencap, wrote and submitted the report for the consultation. He says:

“When the Council announced that the centre could be closed, Mencap was inundated by parents who were concerned about what would happen to their loved ones.

“We don’t feel that Wirral Borough Council have fully grasped the negative impact that the lack of clear consultation has already had on the lives of those who attend the centre, let alone the catastrophic impact on these individuals and their families should the centre close.”

Furthermore families told Mencap that the local authority has not been clear enough about the alternative services available for those who currently attend Moreton Day Centre, should it close.

Stephen McGreal is a campaigner whose daughter would be affected by the closure of Moreton Day Centre. Speaking on behalf of the families, he said:

“We are extremely grateful for the advice and support provided by Mencap and Wirral Mencap throughout our campaign to keep Moreton Day Centre open and protect our adult children, who are some of the most disadvantaged members of our society. Mencap actually asked us what we think, how we would be impacted by a closure, and what we want to happen.

There has been talk of attending an alternative day centre, but nothing specific has been confirmed. I’m not sure that the Council fully appreciates what a huge upheaval this would cause our relatives – losing long term friendships, going to a different setting and being looked after by staff who don’t know what you need can be extremely distressing.

“Mencap has produced the consultation impact document on behalf of people who attend the centre and us – their parents and carers – which highlighted our feelings and anxieties. These are very real concerns and we hope that the Council takes them seriously.”

The consultation closes tomorrow, Wednesday 5 June 2013, with a decision expected at a Town Hall Cabinet meeting on the evening of Thursday 13 June 2013.

About Mencap

There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.

www.mencap.org.uk

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email help@mencap.org.uk

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