Council bosses answer questions on social care changes

Fourways day centre in Tyldesley

Fourways day centre in Tyldesley

First published in North West

PROPOSED changes to the way adult social care is delivered in the borough will result in a ‘vibrant and diverse range of alternative services’, according to council bosses.

As reported in the Journal last week, the plans would see the closure of two day centres, including Fourways in Cleworth Hall Lane, Tyldesley, and the redevelopment of two others.

We spoke to Stuart Cowley and Jo Willmott, director and assistant director of adult social care for Wigan Council, about the changes.

Q. The council is planning to close or redevelop four day centres – how will that work and where will those services be moved to?

A. Jo: “We are committed to developing unique packages of support for each individual. We are not looking at wholesale transfers of blocks of 30 people because that would be really wrong.

“This is about ensuring that you have got really comprehensive one-to-one support for each customer and their friends, carers and supporters to identify people’s interests and aspirations and co-produce with them a package of support that will symbolise their connections to the community.”

Stuart: “The best care for someone might be a retained council day centre and we are looking to move the council-run day centres towards more complex needs.

“We need to review the 400 people who are using the service and create those individual packages alongside the consultation.”

Listen to Stuart explain the council's plan for adult social care by clicking here:

 

Q. Why have the two day centres been chosen for closure?

Jo: “It comes back to the state of the building and occupancy level and whether there are opportunities to develop the space.

“Where buildings are small or falling to pieces and there is no opportunity to do things differently, that is where we have focused attention.”

Stuart: “With Fourways we could consider whether we could get better accommodation for people.

“These are just ideas but we would be able to look at that site either directly for adult social care improvements or if there was a different use for the site, we would get the money from the sale and do it somewhere else.”

Listen to Stuart explain why these centres have been earmarked for closure if the plans are approved:

 

Q. If the day centres do close, will the others need extra capacity to cope with that?

Jo: “There will be a more specialist role for in-house services where we deal with people with complex needs and challenging behaviours.

“Part of the consultation is us making a commitment that we will have an ongoing role.”

Stuart: “To an extent people have been voting with their feet in this personal budget environment so the occupancy level of current buildings is such that we can reasonably safely reposition to fewer day centres of a better quality and get the occupancy levels better for the things that we run because some of the centres haven’t been particularly well subscribed in the past year or so.”

Q. Are jobs at risk?

Jo: “We have been open and upfront with people that there are potential job losses but we are doing everything in our power to minimise compulsory redundancies with really practical things like holding existing vacancies and there is a real wraparound package of support for individual staff already.”

Stuart: “We may need fewer traditional support workers in day centres but we will need more of different kinds of workers and what we are looking to do is align the opportunities as best we can.”

Q. What sort of community activities are you looking at?

Stuart: “It is a new way of thinking and it has been a revelation for staff because if a person is passionate about fishing, they got some help to go to Pennington Flash and their whole experience changes of care. There have been some brilliant stories like that.”

Q. Fourways is also an assessment centre, will this be relocated?

Jo: “It is really important for people to understand that it is not a residential home, it is not about relocating individuals who use the centre, it is about the service that it delivers.

“If we are looking to support people to develop and maintain their skills we are far better doing that in their own home.”

  •  To have your say on the consultation, call 01942 487077 or email spoc@wigan.gov.uk.

     

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