Dismay as Dagenham day centre closure looms

The George Crouch Centre in Dagenham has been threatened with closure. Carol Phillips on the right w

The George Crouch Centre in Dagenham has been threatened with closure. Carol Phillips on the right with daughter Donna and son Tony are concerned. - Credit: Archant

A mother has raised concerns over plans to close a day centre which has performed “miracles” for her disabled son.

Service users at George Crouch Day Centre received a letter saying Barking and Dagenham Council is planning to “proceed with closure” – but are still in the dark as to when that will be.

Carol Phillips’ son Tony has attended the Althorne Way centre twice a week for the past two years.

“He absolutely loves going there,” she said. “The staff have done a brilliant job, it’s like a second family for him.”

The 54-year-old, who suffers from learning disabilities as well as epilepsy, arthritis and limited mobility, lives with his mum Carol, 72, in Campden Crescent, Dagenham.

Carol, who cares for her son with her daughter Donna, believes he has come on “leaps and bounds” since starting at the centre.

“He looks forward so much to going there, he’d be so sad if it had to go,” explained Carol.

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“They’ve got the best out of him, they’ve done miracles in the little time he’s been there. We couldn’t get much out of him before but now he can have a gossip and he says the carers’ names – I can’t praise them enough.”

In the letter written in March, operational director of adults’ care and support Tudur Williams says the service users – the number is understood to be around ten – would have access to a personal budget to cover “daily support needs”.

He adds that the money-saving measures will only be put into place once “alternative provision is in place for everyone”.

But Carol says she does “not feel reassured at all”. “I don’t want him to go to one in Havering, I don’t really want him to go out of the borough,” she explained. “If he has a fall or something happens to him I wouldn’t be able to get him. I don’t know what’s going to happen if it closes.”

A council spokesman said the consultation closed on May 5, and refused to comment further.

There are no plans for any change in service for the service users in the 33 sheltered flats in George Crouch Centre, where the day centre is housed.