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Online plea to save Pembroke Dock day care centre

The Anchorage day care centre, Pembroke Dock (Pic: Google Street View)

AN ONLINE plea to save a Pembrokeshire day centre from being closed has been lodged with the county council.

The Anchorage Day Care Centre in Pembroke Dock has been a “safe and happy place” for adults with learning difficulties and additional needs for decades.

In more recent years it has expanded to support elderly dementia sufferers.

But now the centre is expected to close, with services instead being offered elsewhere in the county, including Haverfordwest and Milford Haven.

A series of engagement events have taken place at The Anchorage recently, outlining the reasons and the options in continued service.

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “The parents and carers are all very upset at the way we have been treated, kept in the dark and then presented with what is a fait accompli to close the Anchorage, while at the same time going through the motions of a ‘consultation’ with us.

“The clients at The Anchorage have friendships with each other and staff going back decades in some cases.

“One young woman who attends ran out of the first meeting sobbing when she was told it was going to close. Another, at the second meeting, tried to address the meeting but was so chocked up at the thought of not seeing her friends anymore she could hardly speak.”

She added: “The Anchorage has been a respite in the day for parents and a safe, happy place for the clients.

“Everyone feels that the county council is not considering the feelings of the clients, most of whom are upset and frightened by change to their routine.”

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Another person raising concerns said: “The centre is set to close as early as next month – meaning the sudden retraction of a service which, for many families in the area, is nothing short of a lifeline.

“I’m not sure PCC understand the gravity of the impact that closing the centre will have on the lives of many people, particularly the customers, some of whom may not understand or cope well with such a total upheaval of the familiarity of their daily routine.

“It’s so upsetting that the people who will be most affected by the closure of the centre are as much a part of the Pembrokeshire community as anybody else that the council claims to represent, and yet in this decision, I feel they’re not being seen as such.”

Since then, an online e-petition, on the council’s own website has been launched calling for it to stay open.

It says: “The centre provides day-care support to a number of vulnerable adults with varying levels of disability who are unable to process, and understand, the implications of such a decision.

“Some of those attending the centre have been doing so for over 20 years and continuity is a vital part of their lives. Removing this service will have nothing other than a huge detrimental impact on their health and mental wellbeing.”

The petition has attracted 284 signatures to date.

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesman said: “Following the engagement sessions held with families and service users regarding the future of the centre on April 10 and 17 at the Anchorage, families said that they would like to maintain the Anchorage Day Centre and explained that they would write to the council in order to ask for the decision to be overturned.

“People who attend the service will be offered alternative care, all service users are currently having their individual care needs assessed by social work teams to fully understand which other services best meet those care needs.”