Westerhope Day Centre - The facts

May 30, 2011 5:12 PM

We know some residents have expressed concern about the closure of the Westerhope Day Centre for people with learning difficulties - 10 of the 80 users live in Westerhope ward. Over the last year, numbers attending the centre had fallen by around 40% following the last Labour governments introduction of "Direct Payments" to pay for individual care needs, helping people to find care packages that best meet their needs, rather than being limited to activities inside the day centre . This has included private care, community provision, arts and sports opportunities, and work experience and training projects. Several users have gone on to find full time or part time work.

As a result the council has decided to concentrate its provision for people with significant needs at the Welford Centre in Gosforth and extend the "Direct Payments" personal budgets to other users. Lengthy discussions have taken place with users, their families and carers, and staff to ensure that needs are met in the most appropriate way.

The outgoing Lib Dem council also arranged for an independent review to be carried out with trade union involvement - that review has now agreed that the council's approach is the right one, although they have proposed a slightly longer period for users to make the transition to Welford or to personal budgets.