Concerns for residents in south of Royal Borough amid day centre changes

A Royal Borough councillor has raised concerns over ‘failing’ residents in the south of the borough over lack of council day centre provision in their areas.

At a meeting last night (Wednesday), members of the adults, children and health overview and scrutiny panel were given an update on the re-commissioning of day opportunities.

Members were updated on the changes to day opportunities for both older people and those with a learning disability.

This followed a consultation last summer and a decision by cabinet in November, in which it was decided that two day centres in Windsor would close under new ways of working.

Lynne Lidster, head of commissioning for the Royal Borough, explained that early last year, the team had spoken with people who used the day opportunities to find out the kinds of things they would like to do in the future, including whether people wanted to get out and about more.

In the summer, a formal consultation was launched on the council’s proposal to close both Windsor Day Centre for older people and Oakbridge Centre for those with a learning disability - both located on the same site in Imperial Road.

The proposal sought to retain Boyn Grove Day Centre in Maidenhead for older people and those with a learning disability and create a new 'Out and About' service for people in the community.

The survey received more than 100 submissions, with most people saying that they would like to see a change in day services to make it better for everyone and so people could visit the day centre and do other things.

Lynne explained that a need was also identified for a smaller building-based day centre for those with a learning disability in Windsor and this was taken on board and the proposals altered as a result of the consultation.

In November last year, the council chose to make changes to day services, and it was decided that the Boyn Grove Day Centre would remain open as planned.

In closing Oakbridge Centre, a smaller day centre will be opened at the Mencap Hub building in Windsor for those who need to be supported in a building.

The Windsor Day Centre has now closed and older people are being referred to Spencer Denny Day Centre, Old Windsor Day Centre and Boyn Grove Day Centre. 

The 'Out and About' services will also be implemented so those with a learning disability and older people have more choice, the meeting learned. 

Vicky Holt, community development manager for Optalis learning disability day services, said that it is working with Windsor Mencap and discussing how they plan to use the hub. 

She added that three drop-in days have been held for family carers to come to the building and talk about how they feel about the changes and their plans for the future.

Belinda Dixon, senior dementia care advisor for Windsor and Maidenhead, also told members about the role of Dementia Care Advisors and their work in the community and talked about the Boyn Grove Dementia Day Centre service.

Cllr Julian Sharpe (Con, Ascot and Sunninghill), told the meeting: “This looks really good for our residents. It seems to be quite a flourishing and thriving little community that we’ve got for people in need."

But he added that while he heard about provision in Windsor and Maidenhead, he didn’t hear anything about provision for services in the south of the borough, including Ascot and Sunninghill.

He said: “I just want to understand what’s happening.

“So, for residents in Ascot and surrounding areas, where do they go? Who do they contact? Is there a facility for them, because I didn’t hear anything nearby for them at all.”

In response, Belinda said that anyone that pays borough council taxes is welcome to use any services and the dementia care team covers the whole borough.

However, she explained that if you live in Ascot, Windsor would be your nearest council provision, but there are also other day centres across the border. 

She added that there are lots of private day centres, but the only Optalis-affiliated council day centre is Boyn Grove, which welcomes people from the whole area.

Cllr Sharpe added: “My concern is that from our residents’ point of view down in the south of the borough the council becomes virtually an irrelevance because there isn’t the central provision by the council of these care services in our area."

He also raised concerns over transport for people in the south of the borough to council provision in another town, highlighting how a long journey to a facility in another town like Windsor might discourage people from going.

“I think we need to look at how we’re actually going to plug that because it seems that unless we do, we’re failing on the residents in the south of the borough,” Cllr Sharpe said.

In response Lynne said that she will take his point away for further discussion but added that in terms of getting around, centres do indeed have transport, either their own or through the transport charity People to Places. 

Belinda also explained that transport makes no difference to the Dementia Care Advisors service as it travels to see people.

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