Shake-up planned for day services for people with disabilities in Peterborough

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Peterborough City Council news from the Peterborough Telegraph -, @peterboroughtel on Twitter,
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More than 300 people with learning and physical disabilities are facing an uncertain time as council chiefs seek to shake up day services in Peterborough.

Peterborough City Council is looking to transfer the disability day services it provides at five centres and which are used by 347 adults to an independent provider.

It is also intended that the 62 staff who work at the centres are transferred to the new operator.

The changes could be in place by next summer and will save the council, which is struggling to bridge a £25 million budget deficit, £292,453 in the next financial year.

Additional savings of £307,547 are expected to be achieved each year by renegotiating contracts through which the council commissions services from the independent sector.

It is hoped the new operator will be a charitable or not-for-profit organisation that will retain one main centre and which is supported by community-based satellite centres.

The council will also set aside £500,000 for investment in community satellite locations or any buildings the new provider takes on.

The emphasis will be on equipping people with the life and employment skills they need to live an independent life in the community,

The council-run centres are made up of two traditional day centres - Fletton Day Centre, in Fletton Avenue, Fletton, and Kingfisher Day Centre, in Rightwell Way, Bretton - with employment support available at centres in Westcombe Square, 441 Lincoln Road and 49 Lincoln Road.

But council leaders are at pains to deny the changes are solely due to the need to make cuts.

Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, cabinet member for social care, said: “I would like to stress that this saving is balanced against the needs of our residents, and I am confident that people will receive better day services under the new proposals.

“We want our day services to support people to reach their full potential in life.

“The new model will better support people to gain employment and earn a living, to live independently and to make links in their communities, thereby reducing their dependency on adult social care.”

He said extensive consultation had already taken place with users and staff to devise the new proposals.

The council envisages that the Kingfisher Centre will continue to support people with complex needs and will also take on those adults with complex needs currently using the Fletton Day Centre.

There will be a wider range of activities provided including the opportunity to develop employment related skills with the development of micro enterprises.

The Fletton Day Centre will continue to provide services for people with lesser needs until the new provider has redesigned its services. It is thought the centre could eventually be closed.

The intention is also to further develop the micro enterprises that currently exist at the centres in Lincoln Road and Westcombe Square.

The planned changes will be discussed by members of the council’s ruling cabinet on December 15, when it is expected the service will be put out to tender.

Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, the council’s director of communities, said: “The current way of providing services no longer meets people’s needs in today’s world.”

She said the aim was to find a way that prevented people from needing long term support but helped them to maintain their independence and gain employment and skills for living.

“We currently run 12 micro-enterprises where people can gain employment skills and earn a living, including a car wash and lunchtime delivery service.

“Feedback from service users and their families is fantastic and overall there has been a reduction in the amount of intensive support received by some people.

“The new service model, amongst other things, will look to develop these opportunities.”