We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Presentation of over 1,100 signature petition against closure of Day Centres

May 1, 2006 10:58 AM

Caroline Nichols presented a petition to Spelthorne Council at the Council meeting on 27th April 2006. There was an audience of over 400 at the meeting, specially convened in Spelthorne Leisure Centre to cope with the numbers. There was a great deal of resentment to the Council's proposals which include demolition of the Benwell and Stanwell Day Centres and the petition was well received by the audience.

Madam Mayor,

This petition forms part of the Day Centres campaign - which started in December 2005 in response to the proposed closure of Benwell and Stanwell Day Centres - and the reduction in Spelride and Staines Community Centre services.

The petition contains just over 1,100 (eleven hundred) signatures and is supported by the Liberal Democrats, Labour Party, Senior Citizens Party and numerous voluntary and residents associations.

The message is "We the undersigned support the campaign to keep open all the Day Centres across Spelthorne". I would like to impress upon you that there is a widespread consensus that our Day Centres are highly valued social assets. In particular they provide a vital contact point for the frail elderly who otherwise would have a limited social life. You have, I am sure, heard more than once during this consultation from users who have said "What do you want - that I become a prisoner in my own home?"

I say this because I am concerned that the Deputy Leader, Councillor Culnane - in promoting the recommendation before you - has described objectors as "cynics". Now this is a charge which embraces a lot of different groups - whose objection has not been against improving older people's services, but to cuts being described as improvements. Caught in this criticism are users, carers, good neighbour volunteers, church groups and residents associations - hardly fair I think.

Now, I will admit to a cynical act. At the meeting on Saturday - in the Benwell Day Centre - Councillor Leighton described the Brockhill sheltered accommodation complex in glowing terms. Yesterday, I took an extensive tour round Brockhill, in Woking. It is as good as Councillor Leighton described it, but it cannot be replicated on the Benwell site.

Not only does it have comprehensive facilities, but it is a short walk round the corner - on the same side of the road - to the Health Centre, shops and Waitrose. Its award winning courtyard garden is big enough to swallow up the whole of the Benwell site. I have also been told, quite emphatically, that the lounge does not function as a proper community Day Centre. In short, there is no comparison between the Benwell and Brockhill sites.

Councillors, on the strength of what I have seen I would urge you to defer the decision on Benwell, pending further evaluation of options - as I hope you will do for Stanwell. Please accept our petition.