Carers hit out at budget cuts

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Carers at Barrhead and Thornliebank resource centres have made an impassioned plea to East Renfrewshire Council for communication over cuts.

The council’s budget savings plan, announced last year to combat a £20 million shortfall faced 2015-18, has made headlines recently with the decision to sell Bonnyton House (see p7).

But parents and carers of the adults using Barrhead and Thornliebank resource centres say they are left in the dark as other cuts take centre stage.

The council proposes replacing both with a single hub, with an estimated saving of £90,000 — but carers argue that those with disabilities will suffer.

A representative of Friends of Barrhead and Thornliebank Day Centres told The Extra: “The council want to save £90,000 overall, which is for the building — but it’s going to cost them more in the long run to bring in further care.

“They haven’t given us any proposals on how they plan to run the day centre. One can’t hold everyone, and there’s no accounting for individual needs; personal care, behavioural issues, communities. These people need time to adapt.

“The council focus eson education, without thinking about what happens beyond. And parents of pupils at Isobel Mair School just now will suffer when their children leave school and have nowhere to go.”

Campaigners have launched an online petition calling on ERC to find a way to keep both centres.

Another carer calls on more communication from the council, commenting: “My son, who can’t read, received a letter which he filed in a drawer and I got two weeks later. That was sent to a user, not a carer — they haven’t engaged with us.

“The awful thing is that they’ve said why don’t we decide which centre closes. They’re trying to split us down the middle.”

An ERC spokeswoman responded: “We appreciate that this is a difficult time for users and their families. Staff have been meeting regularly with carers to identify potential options.

“We will be engaging with service users and their families to help redesign the service and we would encourage everyone to get involved. Our focus will remain on providing more flexible, community based services that will improve quality of life.

“The council has agreed that this saving will not be taken until 2017/18 and we will work closely with everyone involved during the coming months to ensure everyone is supported through the change.”