3,000 sign up to save centre

PUBLISHED: 11:57 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

SIGNATURES on a petition fighting to keep a threatened day care centre open have topped 3,000 - and another petition has been started at 10 Downing Street. Herts County Council is meeting on Monday to decide the future of the services it provides for near

SIGNATURES on a petition fighting to keep a threatened day care centre open have topped 3,000 - and another petition has been started at 10 Downing Street.

Herts County Council is meeting on Monday to decide the future of the services it provides for nearly 70 disabled people at the Jubilee Centre in St Albans each week.

Many of them are profoundly disabled and the day care services offer a lifeline for both them and their carers.

The county council is proposing closing the service at the Jubilee Centre and replacing it with alternatives such as making direct payments to them, offering a service at Vesta Lodge care home in St Albans or the provision of day care by voluntary organisations.

But users of the Jubilee Centre service and their carers maintain that it is the wonderful community spirit there which is so vital and provides both medical care and independence for its users.

The county council has decided that the Jubilee Centre, which has been open for nearly 30 years, is no longer fit for purpose and a scheme to replace it with a new day care centre at Fleetville did not go ahead for financial reasons.

Objectors to the closure maintain that none of the alternative proposals suggested by the county have the capacity or necessary level of care in place and the county has refused to promise that the same level of care will be provided.

They point out that all the alternatives involve breaking up a community that caters for people aged between 30 and 96.

They are arguing that no action that crucially affects the lives and well-being of disabled people and their carers should take place unless and until an equivalent venue and service provision is available in St Albans.

The petition to the Prime Minister is asking for Government support to ensure that voting on the closure of the day care service at the Jubilee Centre should be deferred until an equivalent alternative is in place.

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