Consultation on future of council day centres including one in High Peak

A High Peak centre for adults with learning disabilities could become one of only four operating in Derbyshire under plans for a shake up of services by the county council.

Friday, 18th March 2022, 9:04 am

Members of Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet agreed at a meeting last week to consult local residents on plans to change learning disability services in the county.

And one of the options being considered means Alderbrook in Chinley could become one of only four county council run adult learning disability centres in the county to remain open.

There are currently 12 venues which offer services to those with learning disabilities across Derbyshire but the authority is looking to shake up the way the services are provided.

Part of the Alderbrook site

One option put forward means only four centres would be kept open including Alderbrook as well as others in Chesterfield, Erewash and Amber Valley.

As reported in the Advertiser last month, parents and carers who use Alderbrook had been left fearing for its future.

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Parents and carers fear for future of High Peak centre for adults with learning ...

Derbyshire county councillor Ruth George, who has been campaigning to save Alderbrook, said: “Although I and local families are pleased Alderbrook is set to remain open for the moment, and it will start to accept a few more people, it is clear from these proposals the county council is determined to decimate Derbyshire’s excellent learning disability services.

County Councillor Ruth George outside the Alderbrook Centre

“That is a tragedy for the many people who thrive at the day centres, and for their families – many of whom are either elderly and getting more frail, or they need to work.”

A second option to be consulted on would see the county council continue to run all the day centres.

However, in a statement the authority said this option would mean the council would be unable to free up investment for the redesign to a model of community-based support.

Cabinet member for adult care, Coun Natalie Hoy, said: “By transforming our service, we would be able to make better use of the resources we have available to help more people with learning disabilities and/or who are autistic lead more independent and fulfilled lives.”

The council currently supports around 740 people aged 18 to 65 with learning disabilities and/or autism and Coun George says the plans are ‘very short-sighted’.

She said: “The paper sets out alternative provision in High Peak is extremely limited.

“The experienced staff at Alderbrook can support people with a learning disability and autism to progress and learn new skills for life and for work if that’s appropriate for them.

“If the county council was serious about supporting people with a learning disability they would be enabling their day centres to support as many people as possible, but instead they are limiting places. Alderbrook was helping to support over 80 people before the pandemic – now only 11 attend part-time.

“I will be working with local families to make sure their loved ones get the support they need.”

The consultation starts on Monday, March 28.

See www.derbyshire.gov.uk for full details of the consultation.

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