Care cuts are a ‘false economy’

Thornliebank service user Karene McDougall, pictured last week collecting for the foodbank
Thornliebank service user Karene McDougall, pictured last week collecting for the foodbank

The future of almost 100 of East Renfrewshire’s most vulnerable people hangs in the balance as new costsaving proposals to the tune of £90,000 are mooted.

The service-cutting ‘Sword of Damacles’ hangs over two resource centres at Barrhead and Thornliebank.

Worried carers and family members of people with severely complex needs who use the centres say they have not been told how clients’ needs will be met following closure or a merger of the two centres.

Margaret Murray, mum of two daughters with complex needs, told The Extra: “£90,000 is a small saving compared to the immense impact a centre closure would have on the most vulnerable people in our community. More than that, it has a ripple effect on their family and the wider community.

“One of the centre’s regular users is in her 50s and coming to the events, classes or outings gives her 87-year-old mother some respite as well as doing the centre’s users the world of good in terms of learning — even basic things such as how to cross a road safely — interacting with others, cookery and other classes and outings.

“They get help with form filling and so many other vital services that these centres provide, not least the weekly foodbank that operates from the centre in Thornliebank.

“Despite this, councillors say the centres are not used during the day.

“Of course, they are. Where are these very vulnerable people going to go?

“My elder daughter attends Barrhead centre. She’s 19 and one of the younger users. Going to the centre is great for her and also gives me some respite as I look after my 15-year-old daughter, who also has complex needs. These cuts will prove to be a false economy and be devastating for many families.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The proposal is to move from two day centres to one main hub to enable the council to continue to provide high quality, intensive day care services for the clients who need them, and also improve the scope for other service users to chose community based support and activities that are tailored to their individual needs such as supported employment.

“The proposal would not impact on the staff employed by either centre and no decision has been taken on this. Consultation with service users is ongoing. A decision on the savings proposals will be made by the council in February.”