Great Britain

Tower Hamlets day care centre closure proposals will go out to public consultation

Rabina Khan...

Rabina Khan... "I don’t believe carers have been listened to properly." Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Any threat to close day care centres won’t go ahead without public consultation by Tower Hamlets Council.

Jack Dash House on Isle of Dogs... one of three day care centres facing closure. Picture: GoogleJack Dash House on Isle of Dogs... one of three day care centres facing closure. Picture: Google

That’s the assurance from the town hall. Opposition councillor Rabina Khan challenged the closure proposals in a confrontation with the deputy mayor for adult services.

“I don’t believe carers have been listened to properly,” she insisted. “These plans deal with assessing the impact on equality to check if any group like the disabled may suffer negatively by closing the centres.”

The council received a petition after hundreds of disabled had been warned in letters from the town hall that their centres may not reopen after the Covid lockdown.

The moves result from the Covid-19 crisis, the council has since pointed out.

It had to close the day centres and change the way people using them were being helped.

The authority said in a statement to the East London Advertiser: “We need to look at how day support can operate in future. We will continue day support options but are proposing that less of these are centres based in specific buildings.”

A spokesperson said: “We will look to create community support hubs which offer flexible services, where people can come and go in line with their individual needs and interests. Our services offer many different types of day support, but we will ask what other local activities people would like to see as part of our consultation on these proposals. In addition, direct payments continue to be available to anyone wanting to take a greater level of control over their care and support arrangements

“While the proposals include the closure of three centres, some centre-based support will continue. Existing day support that the council funds will be strengthened, including support from Sonali Gardens, the Sundial Centre and support delivered through partners including LinkAge Plus.”

The centres under threat are the Riverside at Jack Dash House on the Isle of Dogs, a centre for brain injury recovery in Stepney Way and a care centre at Pritchard’s Row in Bethnal Green.

Care worker Manuel Ghobo had told the Advertiser before the cabinet meeting: “The woman I look after who’s 92 is breaking down over the closures. I had 20 calls from her. She was gutted by the letter she got.”

Ex-security worker Alan Orpwood, now 72, became a full-time carer for his disabled wife before damaging his spine in an accident leaving him disabled himself.

His wife Anne, 63, said: “We asked the council when our centre would reopen and were told they’re closing it. It’s Alan’s lifeline.”

Jessica Cupit turns 93 at Christmas and has been stuck at home isolated while her Pritchard’s Row centre has been shut through Covid.

Her daughter Christine Scotton, 71, said: “It’s a bit of a blow if it’s not reopening. It was Mum’s only outing.”

An equality assessment of the closures could show “a disproportionately negative impact” for people with “protected characteristics” under the Equality Act, Cllr Khan told the cabinet.

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