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Paignton care centre's closure a 'backward step'

By Herald Express  |  Posted: October 12, 2012

Mary Maclachlan

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A DAY care centre for vulnerable adults has been closed after 34 years.

Twenty users of Fairwinds, based in the grounds of Occombe House in Preston Down Road, can now access services provided from Hollacombe Community Resource Centre and Torquay Community Resource Centre.

But there are fears the changes are not the best thing for users who have come to rely on their services.

Mary Maclachlan has a daughter Jane who lives at Occombe House. She has attended Fairwinds for many years.

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Mrs Maclachlan said: "This closure is against the majority of the families and clients wishes and is certainly a backward step in provision. Many people have had their day services cut drastically.

"The closure is purely a financial exercise and does nothing to provide better care or opportunities for people with profound learning disabilities, for many it is a cut in provision of essential services."

The decision to close the centre was made by the Torbay Care Trust Board in March.

The board were told the move would result in £500,000 a year savings and is part of a redesign of learning disability day service opportunities.

A care trust spokesman said the closure has come after many months of careful planning and engagement with families, clients and staff.

He said the remaining centres offered access to a range of activities, support and opportunities for socialising.

He said: "This planned development ensures we are making the very best use of the skills and experience of our staff, and ensures we are delivering on our duty to provide people with good, safe care which meets people's individual needs.

"The trust made the decision earlier this year that it needed to do more to ensure local services for those people with a learning disability were appropriate and able to support the aspirations of service users now and in the future."

The changes come as the trust faces a £45,000 overspend on its £1.746million budget by the end of the year.

The organisation faces increased financial pressure and reduction in the overall adult social care budget and over-expenditure in learning disabilities.

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