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Carers want Sidford's Green Close day care to stay

10:07 01 May 2009

A CARER doesn t want Devon County Council to close the day care service offered at its Green Close facility in Sidford.

A CARER doesn't want Devon County Council to close the day care service offered at its Green Close facility in Sidford.

She says neither she or her husband, who has a debilitating illness, were consulted during talks between DCC and Age Concern Devon to relocate the 12; including her husband, using the Sidford day care services to DCC's purpose-built Marshlands Day Centre in Seaton - a 20-minute drive away.

Confirming discussions had taken place between DCC and Age Concern, a council spokesman said no decision had been made over closing day care at Green Close.

Meanwhile the carer's husband has received a questionnaire asking if he is happy with proposals to relocate and if the move would prevent him from using the service.

"He was not very happy going to the centre in the first place and it took a while for him to settle," said the woman, who does not want to be named.

"He likes the group of people he mixes with and is not very good with large numbers, so it suits him.

"It will mean extra travel and having to hang around waiting to pick up other people."

While her husband, in his 70s, is at Green Close, she does things she cannot normally do.

She said: "I just think it is a shame these services are being taken away from this locality. I am sure a lot of people could use them, given the opportunity."

Not only carers were unaware of the DCC discussions.

Raising the issue with David Johnstone, director of adult services for DCC, Sidmouth Sidford County Councillor Stuart Hughes received his reply, stating: "I wasn't aware of the planned move of the day care provision."

Mr Hughes expressed concerns after being contacted by carers who had not been consulted and says he should also have been consulted over such an important issue.

He told Mr Johnstone: "I rate the services provided by the staff at Green Close as some of, if not, the best in Devon and have always said that Green Close is a flagship when it comes to care.

"I do not want to see that care being eroded and moved to other parts of Devon."

A DCC spokesman described Green Close as: "a highly valued intermediate care, residential facility" not designed as a day centre, and there was "greater potential to provide a fuller service at Seaton."

DCC was talking to users of the Green Close day service and their families to see if they liked the idea of relocating.

Lesley Noble of Age Concern Devon, said: "We are able to provide a greater choice of activities for people from the Marshlands Day Centre than we can from Green Close."

She said those visiting Marshlands from Green Close were pleased with its facilities and choice of activities.

By relocating to Seaton, Age Concern would increase its service from three to five days there.

There would be no changes to voluntary transport provided, said DCC's spokesman, who added: "We won't make a decision until we're sure of the right decision, but so far people have been very positive about the proposal."

The Sidmouth carer said she pays £6 05p a day for transport and a meal for her husband, plus a charge to DCC for the service and says this is bound to increase with a longer journey.

Mr Hughes remarked: "I am not happy about this at all. I will do everything I can to ensure Green Close remains providing services for the people that need it.

"We should be caring for people locally, providing services closer to home.

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