Day centre campaigners overjoyed at news of council u-turn

Campaigners quest makes front page news
Campaigners quest makes front page news

Campaigners have welcomed a sudden u-turn by East Renfrewshire Council on plans to close one of two day centres catering to the area’s most vulnerable.

Following protests — and a petition with 1,115 signatures — ERC has announced a backtrack on the proposal, which would have closed either Thornliebank or Barrhead resource centre as part of a £20 million, three-year budget savings plan.

A council spokeswoman said: “It means day services for people with additional support needs will work more closely with third sector partners to realise a greater quality of life.

“The council still has to identify a £90k saving by March 2016, and will work with service users, their families and third sector partners to achieve this.”

A representative of the Friends of Barrhead and Thornliebank Day Centres told The Extra: “We are more than willing to work with the council on what can be done in the future.

“It’s a huge u-turn and uplifting for us, since this troubling situation has been looming for more than two years now.”

Councillor Ralph Robertson, who last week appealed to fellow members to act, said: “It is the only sensible thing to do. I’m glad the council has reconsidered — but it is a pity all the stress and anxiety that everyone concerned was put through.

“If it hadn’t been for the campaign receiving over 1,000 signatures, would they have listened?”

East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald tweeted: “Welcome news that ERC changed plans to close one of our two great day centres. Service users and families will be very relieved.”

It’s a feeling echoed by Extra Facebook follower Sarah Mclachlan, who said: “At last, some good news for all the service users, carers and staff. We were all sick with worry about what was going to happen to them all.”