Carers’ fury as ‘lifeline’ day centres face the axe

These are not leisure centres. They are a vital lifeline

Northfields in Moston and Eric Hobin, in Charlestown, will close from next year – a move now approved by the council

Two Manchester day centres are to shut in a bid to save £1.7m despite a backlash from campaigners.

Northfields in Moston and Eric Hobin, in Charlestown , will close from next year.

The council approved the move at its latest meeting, arguing many centres are in disrepair and half-empty. No ‘eligible’ vulnerable people will lose care as a result, they insist.

But furious carers’ groups slammed the move as ‘disgusting’. They say vulnerable people with starkly different needs,  including Alzheimer’s sufferers, will now be thrown together in the city’s remaining centres.

The changes will also put carers under increasing pressure, they warn.

Under the plan Heathfield in Miles Platting , Minehead in Withington and Hall Lane in Wythenshawe will stay open while specialist centre Oakwood in Northenden stays until a new centre replaces it in 2017.

Liz Bruce, strategic director for families, health and well-being, said since personalised care budgets were introduced usage has ‘significantly fallen’.

She added: “In these financial times it’s not cost effective to run buildings that are 40pc under-occupied. But more importantly, our customers have voted with their feet.”

Coun Paul Andrews, executive member for adult services, said keeping them all is not ‘sensible’. He added: “If I had to look elsewhere in adult and social care for these savings I believe I’d be taking services away from other vulnerable people.”

The decision came despite a call from the council’s own health scrutiny committee to rethink the plan.

Furious carers said the consultation process had been a ‘waste of time’. They said falling usage was in fact due to stricter eligibility criteria – meaning many people are now entitled to far less time in day centres.

Sue Ashton, 62, whose daughter Nicky uses Heathfield, said: “These are not leisure centres. They are a vital lifeline.”