A DAY centre that had been facing closure could now be saved after an 11th hour decision to hold further talks with campaigners who want to take it over.
Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet was due to take a decision to base its My Day, My Life support service for adults with learning disabilities in Abergavenny at the town’s Melville Centre, a theatre and community building.
That would have meant the Tudor Centre, that prior to the Covid pandemic had been home to the service that launched in 2014 and before that was used as a support and activity base for adults with various disabilities, would have been permanently closed.
But at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening, October 11, Ian Chandler, the councillor responsible for social care, said he would ask the cabinet to instead agree to defer any decisions on the Tudor Centre for further talks to take place.
The Green Party councillor said: “I would ask you to pause any decision so further consultations can take place with stakeholders who want to develop their own service in the area.”
The report for the cabinet had recommended establishing the My Day, My Life support base at the Melville, which would have required £135,000 to be spent by the council to improve access and bring it up to standard as it was a cheaper option than the Tudor Centre or the Abergavenny Community Centre that was also shortlisted.
Cllr Chandler said in making the recommendation he and social services officers wanted to ensure the decision of where to locate My Day, My Life wouldn’t have a “detrimental effect on other nearby community spaces”.
But he said the council now wants to “further test that” as it holds talks with those who want to maintain Tudor Street, which was closed at the start of Covid lockdown in March 2020. The building never reopened but in November last year a cabinet decision was taken, but later paused, to permanently close the building and sell it for affordable housing.
The campaign to save and reopen the centre was kickstarted by the announcement of the decision, made without consultation, and was further boosted in April when an ongoing review of My Day, My Life found users wanted a base to meet with others and which was there own, contradicting the social service’s department’s view that day centre’s were “outdated”.
The council’s Labour leader, Mary Ann Brocklesby, told the cabinet the community group the council has been in discussions with since July “want to establish a much wider base”.
She said she wanted the talks to come to a conclusion “in a short period of time” to enable any proposed decisions to come back to the cabinet.
Cllr Chandler said the recommendation the Tudor Centre be declared “surplus to the social service’s directorate’s requirements” would make the building available to other groups, such as the one the council is holding talks with.
Conservative opposition leader Councillor Richard John said he was pleased the cabinet was putting its decision making on hold “even at the 11th hour”.
He said: “I welcome the decision to pause, I don’t think it’s ever a sign of weakness to stop, pause and reconsider particularly in the face of the level of opposition within the community.”
At the meeting it was also agreed the My Day, My Life service in Monmouth should be based at the Overmonnow Family Learning Centre, which Cllr Brocklesby said she hoped could open “as soon as possible.”