CAMPAIGNERS who still want to see a day centre reopened by their local council have gathered at the building that has been closed for almost four years.
Members of the Tudor Street Campaign Group met in the grounds of the centre – that was closed at the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020 – to share mulled wine and mince pies and demonstrate their support for re-opening it.
It had been home to the My Day, My Life support service for adults with learning disabilities, before its temporary closure at the start of the pandemic, and the building has never reopened with Monmouthshire County Council having now agreed it should operate from the Melville Arts Centre instead.
A statement by the campaign group said: “We toasted to My Day My Life Tudor Street a merry Christmas and a big thank you to all who have supported us through this 2023, and to all the 3,000 people who signed the petition to keep Tudor Street open.”
Monmouthshire council has said no decision on the future of the Tudor Street building will be made until April, to allow another group formed from the campaign to reopen it, time to put together a plan to take it over as a space for a wide range of adults with disabilities and support needs, including those supported by My Day, My Life.
In the meantime that group, named The Gathering, is also able to use the former tourist information centre in Abergavenny, now known as the Wellbeing Hub, for meetings with it also being used to accommodate the My Day, My Life service until the Melville Centre has been adapted to make it accessible to people with disabilities.
The Melville has been awarded £150,000 from the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund to make the adaptations which Monmouthshire council has said could take between 12 to 16 weeks and include improving access and disabled changing facilities.
The Tudor Street campaign said people had backed reopening the building – which the county council’s cabinet agreed in November 2022 should permanently close – and hadn’t given their support for alternatives brought forward after an independent review of the support service found a base from which it could co-ordinate group activities, and activities in the wider community, was still needed.
The campaign group said while it respects others will be able to make use of the alternative facilities they aren’t accessible to all and said: “People didn’t sign a petition for the Melville Theatre or the tourist information centre but signed for the reopening of Tudor Street.”
Karen Webb, whose adult son Alex is a My Day, My Life user, was among those who met in the grounds of the Tudor Centre.
She said Alex has been able to visit the former tourist information centre but it isn’t fully accessible. She said: “Alex went to the opening of the tourist information centre but it is a very small space and he has to come out of the building to use the public toilets for changing. The facilities aren’t there but it may only be for a couple of months.”
Mrs Webb said families had also met with the council’s cabinet member for social care, Ian Chandler, and she had stressed to him adaptations to the Melville would need to include changing spaces toilets that allow additional room for adults to be changed, rather than standard disabled toilets.