SENIOR Pembrokeshire councillors are recommended to back plans to close two of the county’s centres for older adults and those with learning disabilities.
At the January meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, members are recommended to approve the relocation of Day Services for older adults and adults with a learning disability provided from Portfield SAC, Haverfordwest, and Avenue SAC, Tenby, to alternative venues from April 1.
The alternative venues will be Meadow Park Day Centre in Prendergast, Haverfordwest and Lee Davies Day Centre in Narberth, both of which have been used as alternative sites since August 2023, with the Avenue also served by The Anchorage SAC/South Quay.
The proposed relocation of service users and returning the vacant buildings to capital management will achieve a £130,000 budget saving, a report for members states.
A second option, to keep the existing services at Portfield and The Avenue, and develop a plan of investment and ongoing maintenance, will have a minimum cost of £1,257,000; amounting to £640,419.02 and £616,581.34 respectively, with numbers of service users attending day centres rather than other facilities dropping since the Covid pandemic.
The report adds: “It has been identified over recent years that there is a need to review the way in which Day Service and ‘Day Opportunities’ are provided in Pembrokeshire for both older people and people with learning disabilities.
“The historical arrangements rely on a large number of buildings and services being provided for people based on their disability / diagnosis rather than common interests.
“The medium-term plan is to focus more on maintaining peoples’ independence by modernising the way that day opportunities are made available within an individual’s own community.”
A new ‘hub & spoke’ model of service delivery was subject to a formal consultation in late 2019; it was deemed that the development of a two ‘hubs’ model, based in the north and south of the county.
Initially Portfield and the Avenue had been considered as sites, but were “deemed inappropriate” due to the costs needed “to bring them up to a reasonable standard,” the report says.
The favoured option is further detailed in the report: “Meadow Park is a modern purpose-built day centre for older people with all of the facilities required to deliver a specialist and complex service and operating as a ‘hub’ for the north of the county.
“Due to the reduction in service user numbers, it is now a viable option to locate both older people and people with learning disabilities at the venue.
“Co-locating staff means they can be used more flexibly and efficiently across locations which will reduce staffing costs within the service.
The reduction in service user numbers has been particularly acute in the Tenby area with as few as two service users attending on somedays.
“The Lee Davies Day Centre in Narberth, and Havenhurst Day centre Milford Haven will be used to support service users.”
The report will be considered by Cabinet members at their January 8 meeting.