Closure plans for centres that care for vulnerable ‘unacceptable’

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A proposal to shut down two day centres which care for vulnerable people in Wirral has been slammed as "unacceptable".

Wirral Unison has strongly criticised the plans which are part of a restructuring of Wirral Evolutions, which provides day care services for adults with various learning difficulties and physical disabilities,

Wirral Council is the sole shareholder in Wirral Evolutions.

The union claims the plans will see a reduction in both the number of care workers and the amount of support hours provided to people who use the service.

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It is also claimed many care workers face pay cuts and changes to their jobs.

Perhaps most worryingly, Wirral Unison said the proposals include the closure of two day centres at Highcroft in Bebington and Cambridge Road in New Brighton, as well as the Best Bites training facility.

Wirral Unsion said the plans were first raised in March, but they are only now being shared with carers and those who use the service.

The union also thought the three-week consultation conducted amid covid restrictions was not sufficient.

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To try to stop the changes, Wirral Unison will be holding a public meeting via Zoom on Wednesday, June 2, at 6pm called ‘Save Our Day Services’.

The meeting will be hosted on Wirral Unison's Facebook page.

Wirral Unison’s branch secretary David Jones said: “Wirral Evolutions are proposing changes that will see many of our members face pay cuts, reductions to their contracted hours, and significant variation to their jobs.

“This is alongside the unacceptable proposals to close two day centres. These changes will not enhance the service, rather it risks a detrimental impact on the outcomes for the people who use the service; they deserve better!

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“The dedication of our members to the people who rely upon the services is undimmed. That is why we call for these proposals to be dropped.”

A spokesperson for Wirral Council said: “Wirral Council created Wirral Evolutions five years ago and the organisation is successfully supporting our most vulnerable people with learning disabilities and are a very highly-valued service provider in the borough. Robust internal structures have been put in place to better manage things like governance and performance.

“We are confident that the challenges they were presented with, as a result of operating costs being higher than the budget available, will be met effectively and that they will be able to realise their new delivery model without any negative impact on the quality of their services.

“The council will continue to support Wirral Evolutions in any way it can, while also closely monitoring the changes they are making so that clients and their families can be assured that the services they receive are of the highest quality and appropriate to their individual needs.”