Mother’s concern over proposed day centre closure

Sophie Madden

A mother has said she is “heartbroken” over the proposed closure of day centres which provide care for disabled adults.

Maureen Winkles, 86, from Quinton in Birmingham, is the carer for her daughter Lisa, 53, who has epilepsy and water on the brain, external.

For 32 years, she has had respite care at the Harborne Day Centre, which could be closed under proposals from Birmingham City Council.

The authority said no decision will be made until a public consultation ends next month.

Lisa Winkles
Lisa Winkles has been attending the centre for more than 30 years

Mrs Winkles said Lisa had learning difficulties, and was unable to live unaided.

During her sessions at the centre, as well as being cared for, she does activities and meets friends.

“The staff are fantastic down there, they really are, they do look after them properly and I know she is safe down there and I know she is looked after,” said Mrs Winkles.

As well as providing care for her daughter, the day centre gives Mrs Winkles the only respite she gets from her caring duties.

“I could scream, well actually I sat and cried to be quite honest, she said.

“She loves it there.”

Her daughter added: “I have friends at the day centre.

“I feel like I can’t settle.

“I feel a bit upset about it.”

Harborne Day Centre
Harborne Day Centre is one of four whose future is under consultation

public consultation on the future, external of Birmingham City Council’s day centres is due to close on 9 July.

It said opinions were being sought on a plan to close four centres, Beeches GOLDD; Harborne, Heartlands and Fairway, with users and staff moved to the five remaining centres – Alderman Bowen in Bordesley Green, Ebrook in Sutton Coldfield, Elwood in Erdington, Hockley Centre and Moseley Centre.

Making the change, it said, would help as it seeks to save £65m from its adult social care budget after being declared effectively bankrupt.

But it said no decisions would be made until the end of the consultation.

Councillor Rob Pocock, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “Consolidating our existing centres will enable us to diversify our offer in line with citizens’ expectations and thus ultimately improve outcomes.”

Maureen Winkles
People in Birmingham are being urged to have their say in the consultation

But for Mrs Winkles that offers little comfort.

“Lisa doesn’t want to go to another one,” she said.

“And just say she does, she has either got to go to Hockley or Moseley.

“To me they have already made their minds up, if they want to shut it, they will shut it, whatever happens.”