LETTER: Labour should be ashamed of dreadful day centre decision

WHEN the Conservatives shut down the Sheffield steel industry I retrained (EU-funded) to do social work at college.

During the course I did a three month placement at Addison Road Day Centre. This was a wonderful experience. I remember vividly going on a week’s holiday to London to gain experience on the role of supporting people with learning difficulties.

As a staunch Labour supporter I have always canvassed my area of Maltby on local and parliamentary elections. No longer will I do that after the dreadful decision to close the local day centres.

I worked with the MENCAP organisation for 16 years and all the service users who chose to go to the day centres loved going and meeting their friends. The care and commitment of the staff there is second to none. The centre also gives respite to parents and guardians who will find it harder to cope.

Sir Jack Layden, the then leader of the council, once told me he was so proud to have one of the best social services in the country, second to none. Wardens, meals on wheels, evening and weekend events for people with learning difficulties — all shut.

He was particularly proud of Addison Day Centre and the adversity he overcame with the building and acceptance of the centre by the local community.

Since the Conservatives have been in power I know we have lost £150 million in rate support and have had to make drastic cuts to services but to victimise disability is an utter disgrace.

The council stated than an extra 5.9 council tax rise would protect social care — £80 more in my case — which would be ringfenced, they said. That is a lie!

Cllr Roche has rubber stamped all the closures even though 6,000 people signed a petition to try to save the centres, which was totally ignored.

Cllr Roche says that people have voted for Shared Lives on the council website but only gives two instances from Oaks Day Centre.

When I went to Addison’s open day last week (no councillors there), I asked ten people about Shared Lives and not one wanted the proposed 1-1.

As Sir Jack’s phrase goes: “You have got it wrong and I reserve the right to tell you I told you so.”

M Jevons, Maltby