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Following a consultation into the Council’s four Community Day Centres, Cabinet has agreed to close three Centres based on their low usage and high ongoing costs – but the provision in Gilfach Goch will be retained.

In November 2018, Cabinet agreed to explore alternative delivery models for Community Day Centres in Gilfach Goch (Gilfach Goch Day Centre), Gelli (Brynnar Jones), Williamstown (Nazareth House) and Maerdy (Teifi House).

A six-week consultation started in late January 2019, and ended on March 4, 2019.

The consultation was agreed due to the under-utilised nature of the Centres – with low user-numbers combined with a need to continue to modernise and reconfigure the Council’s community service offer through Community Hubs. There is also an estimated £500,000 of repairs required across the Centres.  

The number of meals sold each day across the Centres is very low, with the cost to the Council subsequently high. In one case, this is almost £21 per meal. There is also a very limited programme of activities for users across the Community Day Centres, while there are none at all in Williamstown.

However, Gilfach Goch Day Centre sells the highest average meals per day, resulting in the lowest cost per meal to the Council. It supports a programme of activities – and its building has low repair costs compared to Williamstown and Maerdy. User numbers may also increase at Gilfach Goch Day Centre in 2019/20, as users of St George’s Day Centre in Tonyrefail were signposted there following St George’s closure in 2018.

The consultation involved eight public drop-in events – two at each Centre – while an online survey was available on the Council’s website. In total, 331 responses were received, along with a petition in support of Gilfach Goch Day Centre with 488 signatures, and a letter from the Local Elected Member.

A summary of the consultation responses was included in a report to the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, May 8. Having considered the feedback, Members agreed to retain Gilfach Goch Day Centre and close Brynnar Jones Day Centre, Nazareth House Day Centre and Teifi House Day Centre.

Councillor Geraint Hopkins, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Adult Community Services, said: “Last November, Cabinet agreed to explore and consult on the future of Community Day Centres – based on the evidence that there is a small number of service users and, therefore, it could be reasonably argued that the current model no longer caters for the majority of older people in the County Borough.

“This is combined with the low number of meals sold, the increased cost to the Council – and an estimated half-a-million pound repairs needed across our Centres. It was clear to Members that the current model needed looking at.

“The consultation feedback has been considered thoroughly by Cabinet. There was evidence to suggest Gilfach Goch Day Centre should be retained – it has the highest user numbers which are also projected to increase in 2019/20, the most meals are sold there, it has among the lowest ongoing costs and the fewest required building repairs. Support to retain this Centre was also put forward in a 488-signature petition, as part of the consultation.

“In consideration of all of the evidence as well as the submissions from members of the public, Cabinet agreed to retain Gilfach Goch Day Centre and close Centres in Gelli, Williamstown and Maerdy. Cabinet also agreed for the Council to explore alternative provision for service users through existing third sector organisations in the three communities – or through the development of Community Hubs.

“It is important to note that these changes are one element of the Council’s wider modernisation strategy for older people services across the County Borough. This includes our Extra Care and Community Hubs programmes, which will maintain services and opportunities for social interaction – creating new spaces to meet for people of all ages and backgrounds.”

During Wednesday’s meeting, Officers confirmed current learning disabilities service clients who also access services at Brynnar Jones Day Centre will continue to benefit from this service, albeit from alternative premises. The Council will work with the individuals and their families to explore transport and location choices about how they will continue to receive this support going forward.

Posted on Thursday 9th May 2019

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