Day care provisions improved

MOVING can be a stressful time for anyone, but for those with a disability, the change can be traumatic and unnerving. Fortunately, the relocating of day care provisions in St Neots and the creation of a new office in St Ives has been welcomed by service

MOVING can be a stressful time for anyone, but for those with a disability, the change can be traumatic and unnerving.

Fortunately, the relocating of day care provisions in St Neots and the creation of a new office in St Ives has been welcomed by services users, parents and staff.

The two new centres have been created by the Cambridgeshire Learning Disability Partnership (LDP) and Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) with the aim of helping adults with disabilities integrate better in to society.

A total of 23 service users aged from 19 to 30 have moved from the Bargroves Centre to the Shortsands Centre. The new location is said to offer easier access to town centre facilities and better job opportunities through links with neighbouring businesses.


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Steve Byrne, Disability Partnership project manager, said: "These facilities suit the individuals and have been tailored to meet their needs. Helping more service users secure permanent paid work is our ultimate goal so they can develop life skills."

It is hoped the move will also raise the centres profile and help users feel part of society.

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Mr Byrne, added: "This move is about empowering individuals in their own communities."

The service users, their parents and staff all "mucked in" during their spare time to help make the move possible in just two weeks without causing a disruption to services.

Alison Gibbons, manager at the Shortsands Centre, said: "The smooth transition has been made possible by the hard work and commitment of everyone who mucked in. Everyone has been so enthusiastic about the move and settled in really quickly. We are going to be really happy here."

Richard Harvey, who uses the centre, said: "This is an excellent new building and everyone likes it here so much. It's a new building, a new start and a new life for us all."

The new facilities include a garden, which the users will maintain, a conservatory, a lounge, kitchen and toilets.

Kim Morn, a service user, said the move to a town centre location had been "great" as it had allowed her to secure a work placement at Help the Aged.

The overall aim of the service is to encourage individuals to raise their level of independence. Activities on offer include swimming, horse riding, gardening, cooking, life skills, bowls, literacy and numeracy, music and sports.

In St Ives, a room in the Free Church is being converted as an extension of the existing day care services available in the town. The room is undergoing a refurbishment and is due to open on Friday, September 5. Users will benefit from a shop and café within the church to help them integrate in to the community and gain work experience.

The new centres at St Neots and St Ives are a key part of CCC and LDP commitment to modernising day service provision throughout the county.

Jane Walls, Disability Partnership project manager said: "These two transitions have been about helping our service users integrate more in to society. It's also about helping service users make friends in the local pub and shop and allow the centre to have a strong community presence. The response we have had has been very good and everyone has worked together to make these positive changes happen."

nTHE now empty Bargroves Centre in St Neots is likely to become a new home for Children and Young People's Services in Cambridgeshire.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council told The Hunts Post a number of possibilities weree being explored for the building including an office for children's social services, a home for Cambridgeshire Instrumental Music Agency or an extension of Samuel Pepys School. A decision is expected to be made by the end of the month.

INFORMATION: To find out more, phone 01480 398050.

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