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Plea to keep Pembroke Dock Anchorage Day Centre open heard at full council

The Anchorage Day Centre question was answered by Cabinet member Cllr Tessa Hodgson (Pic: Google Street View/Pembrokeshire County Council)

A PLEA by a concerned parent to keep Pembroke Dock’s Anchorage Day Centre open was heard at a full meeting of Pembrokeshire 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: “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 choked up at the thought of not seeing her friends anymore she could hardly speak.”

In a submitted question heard at the May 9 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, concerned parent Peter Welsh asked: “Is the council aware of the huge impact the impending closure of the Anchorage Adult Day-care Centre in Pembroke Dock is already having to the health and mental wellbeing of my daughter and 20 other vulnerable adults with special needs and learning difficulties, who are unable to cope with changes to routine, or to process and understand what is happening to them?

“And would the council, therefore, please review its closure decision and retain the centre and the vital and invaluable service it provides not only to the individuals concerned but also to the parents?

“If not, what specific measures does the cabinet member have in place to support my daughter and these other individuals who need extra assistance to enable them to maintain their independence, value and allow their carers to have valuable respite from their caring responsibilities and what are the estimated costs for these substitute measures?”

Responding, Cabinet Member for Social Care & Safeguarding Cllr Tessa Hodgson said an engagement with service users, carers and families was made immediately after staff were informed about the potential closure following the council’s March budget setting.

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Members were told two sessions were held with all concerned, with a list of alternative day opportunities in the county outlined, with opportunities to attend short sessions at the other centres being available so they “can fully explore which opportunity is best suited to their needs and wants”.

“All service users of the Anchorage will be offered alternative day centre arrangements in order to preserve their independence and also to support the caring needs of their families, these assessments are still taking place and are likely to continue to do so at least until the end of May.”

Cllr Hodgson said she was unable to provide estimated costs of the new arrangements until all the assessments were in place, hoping to update members at a future date.

An online e-petition, on the council’s own website has been launched calling for the Anchorage to stay open.

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