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Campaigners Muster To Save Day Centre

Residents, traders and socialist councillors have combined forces to urge a re-think on the planned closure of a Coventry old people’s care centre.

A petition with 480 signatures has been collected in the last week following the announcement that Samuel Hayward Day Centre in Bell Green would be shut to save money.

Shopkeepers helped the protestors collect the signatures by allowing the petition to be displayed in their stores in Riley Square.

Cllr Dave Nellist (Socialist, St Michael’s), said the council should dip into its reserves to provide the relatively small amount of money needed to keep the centre open.

Council officers said the closure was necessary to met saving requirements. The centre was chosen because there were other centres nearby, and facilities in the area are running below capacity.

Cllr Nellist said:

"New Labour says its decision to close this day centre is in order to save £10,000 this year and £42,000 a year after that.

"Yet last year the Council underspent its budget by £2.9 million.

“They should use some of that money to keep this popular day centre open, especially as Age Concern has recently warned that thousands of elderly people go from one week to the next without speaking to another person, feeling trapped at home.

"We need more facilities for the elderly, not less."

Cabinet member (Social Services) Cllr Kevin Maton, will consider the petition next week, and will be also be called on today to defend his decision by members of the city council’s scrutiny board.

Cllr Nellist added:

"According to the Council’s own figures, Samuel Hayward is one of the best used day centres, costing the least per attendance, of any in the city.

"A few hundred yards down the road and the government and council are planning to spend £50 million over the next ten years, yet in Riley Square they’re closing a day centre to ‘save’ a measly £10,000 this year, upsetting elderly users and their carers.

“And this is supposed to be the era of ‘joined up government’?"
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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 2 Nov 00
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