The Isabel Blackman centre looks set for closure as East Sussex County Council (ESCC) search for multi-million pound savings from its adult social care budget.
Old Hastings borough councillor James Bacon has urged local people to fight in defence of the centre saying: “I attended a Public Meeting at the Isabel Blackman Centre regarding the proposed County Council cuts to day services which include this centre in Hastings Old Town. I attended the meeting with Councillors Tania Charman and Nigel Sinden and we heard many passionate speeches from those who use the centre on a daily basis and how important it is to their quality of life. We cannot allow this centre to close or be a victim of County Council and Government cuts. This service is vital and must be kept open for the benefit of all those who currently use it and for future generations.”
In agreeing its budget for the coming financial year East Sussex County Council recognised it would need to make savings of £17 million which included a £10 million budget reduction for adult social care and health. A review is underway which is looking not just at the Isabel Blackman centre but at similar centres in Bexhill and Lewes.
A spokesman for ESCC said: “We are asking for people’s views on how we are proposing to make the nearly £10 million in savings. What people tell us will help us to understand the impact and risks associated with our proposals. There may also be other ideas that we haven’t thought of.
“Those who use services that would be affected by the proposals can speak to their provider or contact us. Frequently asked questions will be published on the website before the consultation closes in April.”
Anyone wishing to be involved in the consultation process should follow this link..
The centre, in Winding Street provides a day service for the over 50s living with: dementia or alzheimers, the effects of a stroke, a learning disability or other long term conditions. It offers services for people who have support needs and says on its website that it caters for those who would like to take part in ‘stimulating activities with other older people’.
Old town resident Jonathan Mendenhall plans to launch a petition in support of the centre and has asked for testimonies as to the effectiveness of the centre from the families of those who have benefited over many years from the facilities it offers.
Mr Mendenhall says: “I acknowledge the difficult, sensitive and statutory obligation on ESCC to find extensive budget cuts to social adult and welfare care within the county. I earnestly urge ESCC to regard the provision of such care at The Isobel Blackman Centre to be an exceptional provision for the elderly not only within Hastings but beyond. It is so exceptional that quite frankly it is indispensable.