CLOSURE of all but one Powys day centre and the introduction of an entirely new day time service is an option going to consultation in a service overhaul.
Powys County Council’s (PCC) cabinet approved a report recommending consultation on three possible options for the service.
Portfolio holder for adult social care, councillor Stephen Hayes, presented the report.
He said: “I am recommending that the council agrees to consult on providing a new service.”
The three options are:
Not close any of the existing services and to continue as is.
Close all day centres including third sector provision with effect from March 2017 (excluding Westwood in Welshpool).
Take a phased approach to decommissioning all existing provision (except for Westwood in Welshpool).
After closure, a new service would look to volunteer and community support to provide to all areas of the county.
Cllr Hayes noted that there are currently three areas that do not have any provision at all: Builth Wells, Llanfair Caereinion and Talgarth.
The new service would aim to save money while preparing for a much older population.
Cllr Hayes added: “We are expecting the amount of over 85s and people living with dementia to double.”
A current exception to the proposed cuts and new service options is Westwood Day Centre in Welshpool.
An earlier agreement between PCC and Welshpool Town Council saw a start up grant of £25,000 given to Welshpool Town Council for the running of Westwood Day Centre.
Commenting on this, Cllr Stephen Hayes said: “The council’s financial situation made it impossible to regard that as a model we could follow elsewhere in the county.”
Criticising this situation, Cllr Joy Jones said: “In the report it says £25,000 was given to Welshpool as a start up grant but it wasn’t used for a start up. Why hasn’t it been reclaimed? I think it is absolutely disgusting.”
Despite unsettled opinions the cabinet decided to move forward with the report and the consultation process.
Cllr Wynne Jones said: “I think the situation of Welshpool is in danger of clouding judgment of services going forward. We cannot do that elsewhere so we have got to move on.”
Another concern was raised by Cllr Michael Jones about East Radnor Day Centre.
Noting its cheaper running costs he said: “It costs the council 57 per cent more per person, per day, to attend an in-house centre as opposed to East Radnor Day Centre.”
Addressing this, Cllr Hayes said that East Radnor would be left until the end of the process for talks about possible ways forward.
Many councillors welcomed the report, scrutiny committee chair, Cllr David Jones said: “If we can get this right there are people who can get a service for the first time. We have to tap into volunteers.”
Cllr Rosemarie Harris also suggested looking for help from the private sector to provide coverage options.
She said: “There are a lot of people who would be prepared to pay for that. We should be as proactive as we can.”