Day centre staff fears calmed

CONCERNS over the jobs of day care centre staff have been allayed today.Crabbe Street Day Centre is one of 13 across Suffolk that is scheduled to close in the coming few months due to an assessment of services by Suffolk County Council.

CONCERNS over the jobs of day care centre staff have been allayed today.

Crabbe Street Day Centre is one of 13 across Suffolk that is scheduled to close in the coming few months due to an assessment of services by Suffolk County Council.

For the last three years the day centre has focused on caring for the over 65s with diagnosed special needs or mental health problems. By the end of the year the centre is likely to be closed.

There are currently six members of staff at the day centre in Crabbe Street and some relatives of users at the centre are concerned about their future.

Today Suffolk County Council has assured staff that they will be able to be redeployed to other roles or can set up their own groups with its support.

One woman, whose husband attends the centre, said: “The staff do such an excellent job there. It will be a shame when it closes. I know the staff are worried about what is going to happen to them.”

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A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “We are looking to find other roles for the staff.

“Some of these staff, if not all, are highly skilled and very experienced so the last thing we want to do is lose the benefit of their expertise. They will be redeployed to similar roles, for example vacancies in the residential home, if that is what they want to do.

“Several staff want to set up their own company and we are looking at social enterprise models. If people want to set up a small company or a group, we would look favourably on that and put effort in to make it happen.”

He added that some staff could get jobs with other day care providers, in which case Transfer of Undertakings (TUBE) could apply.

There is also a residential home attached, which will remain open.

The spokesman said: “People will not have to stop using Crabbe Street until they have found alternative activities. We are conscious that people have been going there to establish friendship groups, which is an important part of it. We are very keen to try and accommodate those friendships elsewhere.”

Last year the council decided to withdraw its day care services over a 15-month period. The idea is the change will mean users at the centres will be able to access activities nearer their home without travelling.

The other day centre closing in Ipswich is Hawthorn Drive centre.

Do you have a strong view about the closure of any day care centres in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.