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Campaigners vow to fight on to save Moreton day centre
WIRRAL families left devastated by the impending closure of Moreton Day Centre are continuing their fight to halt the plans.
Vulnerable adults and their carers were told how their centre had been earmarked for the axe as Wirral Council looks to save £109m over the next three years.
Until now, campaigners had been in the dark whether Moreton, Heswall or Eastham would be officers’ “preferred option” for closure but director of adult social care Graham Hodkinson delivered the news today.
He said the decision was mainly due to Moreton’s “size and design of the service” and that service users and their carers would now be able to take part in a three-month consultation.
However a new petition against the closure has now been launched in a final attempt to save the day centre.
Gemma McGreal, whose sister Nicola goes to Moreton Day Centre four times a week, said: “We were all in complete shock when they told us Moreton had been chosen and one of the students just started shouting and crying ‘what’s going to happen to me?’
“It was horrible and the meeting had to be adjourned while we tried to calm the students down. I was sitting next to Nicola and she is so worried about being split from her friends and her key worker.
“We’ve now launched another petition specifically for Moreton so we’re hoping that everybody who signed the original one will give their support for this.
“One thing that is confusing about the council’s choice though is that they told us Moreton community links are not as strong as those in Eastham and Heswall which is simply not true.”
A consultation with staff, carers and service-users will now last until June 5.
Mr Hodkinson said: “We know how passionately people feel about their centres, but we have no option but to look at closing one of them.
“Wirral must save £109 million over the next three years. A large proportion of the Council’s budget is spent on social care, particularly for adults. Compared to similar authorities, Wirral’s costs relating to day services are in the top 20%, and our costs per person are in the top 10%. We have to deliver these services more cost effectively.
“The recommendation to close Moreton has been made primarily due to the size and design of the service, and also because it is furtherest away from our desired vision of delivering services for people with disabilities in much smaller settings rather than large day centres.
“The consultation on our preferred option will now continue until June 5. My colleagues and I will continue to meet service users, their carers and staff to get their views, and additionally, will be holding personal reviews aimed at looking at the impacts on staff and individual service users and their families.
"As part of this we will be presenting alternatives for day services to meet the needs of those potentially affected.
“The findings of this consultation will be reported to cabinet in early June. No closure will take place before this date.
“I would like to emphasise our concern for the welfare and wellbeing of everyone who uses our services, their families and our own staff, who we know take great pride in their work and need our support.
“We will be working with individual people who use day services to ensure that anyone who needs a service receives it.”