How you can help save an under-threat day care centre in Harborough

The petition has already gathered almost 600 signatures

Monday, 13th September 2021, 12:53 pm
Michael and Nicola Brooks

An angry campaigner is launching a new mission to save a crucial day care centre in Market Harborough.

Anne Pridmore, 81, is battling to rescue under-threat services for seriously-disabled adults at Roman Way Day Centre in the town centre.

She’s started a petition as pressure grows on hard-up Leicestershire County Council to carry on running the vital care complex that so many families locally depend upon.

And Anne has already gathered almost 600 signatures after she campaigned in Market Harborough town centre on Saturday to fire up support.

She’s acting as the county council is looking at carrying out a major shake-up of Community Life Choices services in a bid to save money.

“It’s absolutely outrageous that Roman Way Day Centre and others like it right across Leicestershire are coming under threat.

“I used to work there as a volunteer in the late 1980s and early 1990s and I know just how critical it is for so many people in Market Harborough,” said Anne, who’s disabled herself after being born with cerebral palsy.

“I used to raise money so that we could take the residents there away.

“The staff there do a brilliant job looking after their clients in week in week out.

“The disabled people who attend love to go and mix with other people as they take part in many different activities.

“And it so important for their families as well because this is the only time many of them get any respite,” said Anne, who’s also chair of the Labour party in Market Harborough.

“I’m totally opposed to day centres such as Roman Way being privatised.

“It’s already very tough in society for disabled people – and I’m a wheelchair user myself, I should know.

“We’ve already got hundreds of signatures and I was out on The Square in Market Harborough from early on Saturday morning.

“Support is growing fast for our cause.

“And we will go on fighting to make sure that our excellent Roman Way centre stays open.”

You can sign Anne’s petition online here: https://www.change.org/p/leicestershire-county-council-save-roman-way-community-centreAnne is hitting the warpath after Michael Brooks, 64, spoke at length to the Harborough Mail last week about the dire threat posed to Roman Way Day Centre.

His 32-year-old son – who’s got a developmental age of just 24 months – has attended the support complex five days a week for almost 12 years.

Michael, of Gardiner Street, Market Harborough, told the Mail: “Roman Way Day Centre is an absolute lifeline for me and my wife.

“This whole episode is heartbreaking for us – and for many people like us across Leicestershire.

“We know that the county council is trying to cut spending and is short of cash.

“But how can it be right to target the most vulnerable people in our society - and those who need the most help and support?

“We love our son wholeheartedly and we wouldn’t be without him,” said Michael, a retired educational psychologist.

“But he has profound and complex disabilities.

“He has also been diagnosed with autism.

“So it’s very tough for two people into their 60s to be looking after a young man who’s 33 next month but has the developmental age of a two-year-old.”

A Leicestershire County Council spokesperson said: “We are pleased families value the support they receive through Community Life Choices.

“That’s why we want to hear from them regarding potential changes which could see more people getting help through the independent sector rather than from the council directly.

“We already pay for many families to get support from the independent sector and fewer and fewer people are coming to day services run by the council.

“We have started a consultation, which runs until midnight on October 26, and we’ll use the responses from that to draw up proposals that will go to our cabinet on 14 December 2021.”

They added: “Before that point, it is too early to say how the service will be provided.

“We have been keeping families affected informed at every step and whatever decisions are made they will be supported through any change.”

There are 16 people registered to use the Roman Way Day Centre through Community Life Choices - though not all of them are regular attenders at the moment.

In total 10 council staff are involved in delivering the service at Roman Way – and there are eight day care centres in Leicestershire.

You can find out more about the county’s proposed changes here: https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/have-your-say/current-engagement/in-house-community-life-choices-day-services