Options ‘will stay until alternative is in place’

The Winslow Centre
The Winslow Centre

THE Options day care service at the Winslow Centre will not close until alternative provision is in place in the town.

The assurance has been made by Bucks County Council (BCC) cabinet member for health and wellbeing Patricia Birchley, in response to strong concerns from Winslow Town Council.

Options was due to close at the end of August as part of the county council’s restructuring of adult day services.

Currently, 17 people use Options at the Winslow Centre, 11 of whom are from the nearby Shaftesbury Court care home on Winslow High Street.

In April, we reported on a letter sent to all county councillors by the brother of a woman who lives in Shaftesbury Court and attends Options.

Susan Allsop, aged 45, who has Downs Syndrome, is taken to Options four days a week, and her brother, Peter Kurton, said the service is “a major factor in her wellbeing”.

Under BCC’s restructuring of day services, those with greatest care needs will receive services at one of six community hubs, the nearest of which will be at the Well Street Centre in Buckingham. Other eligible service users will use their personal budget to purchase community-based services.

Last month, Winslow Town Council urged BCC to urgently review its decision to close Options in August, and to make sure that the current level of provision at the Winslow Centre continues until the Well Street Centre is in use.

The renovation of the Well Street Centre has not yet commenced.

Now Councillor Birchley has said: “The Winslow facility will not close until we have appropriate, alternative provision in place in Winslow. If alternative provision is not in place by August, the centre will not close until provision is in place.”

Winslow mayor Llew Monger queried: “Does this just mean paid-for alternatives? What scope is there to maintain and even expand the existing facility with community support? It’s clear there’s strong local demand, not just from Shaftesbury Court.”

Winslow Town Council is due to discuss the issue with senior BCC officers next week.