Two day centres for older people - the Ann Owens Centre in East Finchley and Meritage Centre in Hendon - were due to close this year in March but were given a last minute reprieve for a year. At their AGM on 15th October AGE UK Barnet Trustees confirmed they needed to close both day centre services at the end of March 2015 because Barnet Council is moving to a neighbourhood model where people will go to activities locally.
Labour councillors are concerned that those who are housebound without transport or with severe mobility problems would not be able to access an activity half a mile away and believe that the current two day centres with transport are their only 'neighbourhood' centre. Referrals made to the two centres include those from the Memory Clinic which are important in improving the quality of life of those living with dementia. The two centres provide people with dementia with a familiar place to go where they have regular companions and which they can access with suitable transport that is also provided.
Labour's Health & Social Care Spokesperson, Cllr Barry Rawlings who visited users at the Meritage Centre on Friday morning this week said: "This decision is wrong - expecting people with dementia to book and arrange their own transport for short activity sessions is fantasy and removes a crucial lifeline from these vulnerable adults.
"If Barnet Council agrees with the need to keep people in good health and not requiring hospital or residential care, a decision like this that will leave more elderly people feeling isolated and lacking regular human contact in a safe environment, is counter-productive.
"The centres could be used for other things when they are not providing day care to help keep the day care service running.
"I call on the council to work with the Trustees to try and come forward with options to prevent closure and for the council to support Age UK Barnet in keeping these important facilities open."
1. For more details of the day centre closures see:
For more information contact:
Cllr Barry Rawlings: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568