Dozens of people attended a protest outside Leeds Civic Hall against plans to close three residential care homes across the city – including Middlecross in Armley.
Middlecross, which has a day centre attached, and Radcliffe Lane Day Centre in Pudsey, both face closure as cash-strapped Leeds City Council seeks to make savings of more than £2 million following Government budget cuts.
Protesters yesterday disrupted an executive board meeting which ratified a public consultation on the proposed closure of the centres.
Also earmarked for closure are Siegen Manor in Morley and The Green in Seacroft, Alongside Beeston’s Springfield day centre, the Apna centre in Woodhouse and Frederick Hurdle Centre in Chapeltown.
— Tim Roache GMB (@Tim_Roache) September 23, 2015
Earlier this week, The Dispatch spoke to Katherine Turner, the daughter of a Leeds dementia patient who uses Middlecross, in Simpson Grove, for both respite and day centre care. Mrs Turner, of Farnley, said her father faced an uncertain future due to his rare form of behavioural dementia. She added:
“Not many centres can cope with his type of dementia, Middlecross was one of the few that can. There aren’t many alternatives for him. He can’t just stay at home with mum as his behaviour is too demanding. “I honestly don’t know what’s happening. All we’ve been told is that there’s a consultation, beyond that I don’t know what the future holds.”
Mrs Turner said funding centres like Middlecross should be a priority and that money should be found to preserve services.
“I feel the elderly have been let down. Why can’t the council find the money? There’s money from government to build a cycle lane, why isn’t there money for caring for our elderly?”
The council has stressed that no decisions have been made regarding the future of Middlecross or any other homes under review, meaning both home and day care services will continue to operate as usual. The consultation with service users and families will run until next year.
Bosses have said all 61 residents of the three care homes under threat will be found alternative accommodation.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive board member for adult social care, has stressed no-one would be losing their places. She added:
“There is no option to carry on as we were unfortunately.”
By March 2016 Leeds will have received £180million less from the Government in total core funding in five years – a drop of more than 40%.