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DUDLEY: Protests outside Woodsite Day Centre

DUDLEY: Protests outside Woodsite Day Centre

Image: Judy

Protests took place at a much-loved day centre for vulnerable adults in Dudley who believe the council is intending to close it.

Woodside Day Centre, in Holly Hall, was originally set to shut in 2011 but new plans – described as a shock and a ‘disgrace’ – were revealed last month.

It comes as the council has mooted the idea of creating a borough-wide hub – called ‘Infusion’ – to be part of wider preventive services within adult social care in Dudley.

Cllr Elaine Taylor (Labs, Netherton, Woodside & St Andrew’s Ward) said: “There is very strong feeling about the closure of this borough-wide mental health facility.

“At a time when mental health presentations has doubled, the Tories have decided to pick on the most vulnerable yet again and announce the closure of mental health provisions. Services in Dudley are being cut, and the tax is rising. Where is out money going one must ask?”

Cllr Taylor questioned why the Conservatives have spent a grant to install fake grass in Dudley town centre to ‘brighten it’ than money on mental health services which she believes “several hundred people use week in week out”.

“It’s like they want to block anything that helps residents support their mental health. First they decide to build on our playing fields, green spaces, and green belt and now this.”

Cllr Judy Foster, (Labs, Brockmoor and Pensnett) and deputy leader of the Labour group said: “There are 17 service users who have been attending the centre.

“This service  is a truly borough-wide facility and you would expect me to be particularly concerned for the well being of those of my residents who use it because of the uncertainty that they now face.”

Cllr Nicolas Barlow, (Cons, Wollaston and Stourbridge Town) and cabinet member for health and adult social care, said that no decision had yet been made.

Speaking at a full council meeting on Tuesday, he said: “Consultation is starting this week and will run through October. As pressed upon by my colleague, it’s being called into the health and adult social care scrutiny committee on October 20.

“No decision has been made. We are looking at services in a more community based setting. The building is not fit for purpose. This has already been referenced in cabinet and needs a significant amount of investment.

“None of us on either side want to close or cease the service, and what I’m looking at is the re-provision of the service in a more community setting. Further questions can be asked at the scrutiny committee.”

As of October 7, 170 individuals across Dudley’s borough access the day centre on a regular basis.

This includes 24 users at St James’ ward, 19 at Netheron, Woodside, and St Andrews, and 16 at Brockmoor and Pensnett.

Words: Rhi Storer, Local Democracy Reporter

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