East Sussex day centres could close

The Argus: The Hookstead Centre in Crowborough. Picture taken from Google Streetview. The Hookstead Centre in Crowborough. Picture taken from Google Streetview.

Three East Sussex day centres for the elderly could close under plans for a shake up of services.

The changes being considered by East Sussex County Council could save it around £1.1m a year.

A report to the council's cabinet meeting next Tuesday, December 10 says keeping the existing six centres open in Lewes, Hailsham, Crowborough, Hastings and Bexhill open is not financially sustainable.

It proposes closing the Crowborough, Hailsham and Hastings Centres. 

The authority's adult social care department has to reduce its budget by £27.8 million over the next three years.

The report says there has been a drop in the number of people using the centres, currently just over 230, and it would be cheaper if services are transferred to other organisations to run. It is also looking at ways to provide more services closer to people's homes.

The proposals follow a three month review which ended in October. Concerns were raised during the consultation about the loss of the centres and how elderly residents would be affected.

The report says the proposals are aimed at ensuring services are protected and residents continue to receive the same level of support at less cost, preventing the need for unnecessary cuts to services to be made.

The options are for the Phoenix Centre, Lewes, Charter Centre in Bexhill and the Isabel Blackman Centre in Hastings to stay open with the council continuing to provide existing services in the short term.

This is until providers from within the voluntary and community sector are confirmed to take over the running of the centres in the long term.

The Hookstead Centre, Crowborough, Orion Centre in Hailsham and Pinehill in Hastings to close, with services to be provided at other locations in the voluntary, community and independent sector.

The report said: “While it is acknowledged there is significant local support to retain the existing day services across the county, the local availability of alternative services combined with low occupancy and high unit cost, means that maintaining this provision in the current format is not considered good value.

“Should it be maintained, cuts will need to be made to services elsewhere to continue to support it.

“Therefore it is proposed a strategic approach is taken to develop a broader and more diverse market of day services and support that offers better value for money alongside increased choice, sustainability, flexibility, local proximity and high quality.”

The meeting takes place at County Hall, St Anne's Crescent, Lewes, at 10.30am.


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