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Consultation over Avro and Viking centres
6:00am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in Echo News
PLANS to roll out day care for adults with learning disabilities are set to be made permanent.
Southend Council has launched a consultation about the pilot scheme that saw care brought into the community.
Project 49 was set up in April last year and saw those needing support cared for at the Hub, at 49 Alexandra Street, Southend, and two smaller bases at St James the Great Church, in Leigh, and Ambleside Community College, in Southend, instead of the Avro Centre, in Aviation Way, Southend.
However, the plan to make the pilot permanent could now see the Avro centre closed and also puts into doubt the future of the Viking centre, which is in the same building.
But Simon Leftley, Southend Council’s director for people, said: “This is a really good news story for the people of Southend.
“It is a sensitive issue, as whenever there is change to services for vulnerable people and their families, it will always create a degree of anxiety.
“Project 49 has been more of a success than we thought it was going to be. The vast majority of Avro services users now use Project 49.”
Figures show 144 of the 153 regular attendees at Avro have switched to the new venues.
Nicky Todd, 41, who uses the Hub, said: “I love it at the Hub.
“I do really well travelling on the bus independently – I’ve been doing it a long time now and have my mobile to ring my mum and let her know I’m there OK.
“To get to Avro I had to be picked up by the minibus.”
She enjoys activities to encourage independent living, such as group shopping trips, bowling and gardening.
Carol Cranfield, group manager social care, said: “The change is unbelievable.
“They can get transport independently, because it is not so far to travel. Nicky is a better person for it.”
The consultation will ask whether Avro services should permanently be provided at the three centres under Project 49, whether the Viking centre should survive, and would users support it at an alternative location.
The consultation raises concerns over the future of the Viking centre, which provides day care for people with profound learning disabilities.
However, Henry Watson, manager of the Avro and Viking centres, said: “We don’t want to change the services at Viking, but if the decision is for Project 49 to become permanent, it raises questions of whether Viking services needs to relocate.”
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