TWO local councillors have taken up the cudgels to try to save two Bridport care centres set to be replaced under a review of adult social care provision.
The much-loved Sidney Gale care home for the elderly and the Chancery House Day Centre are both likely to go as Dorset County Council considers new ways of providing its services in the future.
District councillor Keith Day, a trustee of Chancery House, told last week’s public consultation meeting in the town hall that the centre off East Street could provide the ‘community hub’ which is one of the county’s options with the benefit of moderate financial backing.
Meanwhile in a separate initiative, town councillor Karl Wallace wants to hear from people who want to keep Sidney Gale up and running.
Coun Day said that Chancery House, a registered charity, had operated for the benefit of the community that supported it both financially and emotionally, for 39 years.
“Therefore, before a large amount of public money is spent on providing a new day care centre ‘hub’ I feel it is necessary to point out that in Bridport we already have a town centre facility that has been operating successfully for almost 40 years” he said.
“Chancery House is therefore well positioned to become the community ‘hub’ without the need to incur large building costs – particularly at a time when the county council is aiming to make massive savings.
“Instead of the vast expense and obvious delay that designing and building a new day-care facility in Bridport would entail, I would suggest that a moderately small grant from the county to Chancery House would enable a fully functioning hub to be available within a very short space of time.
“There is adequate space at Chancery House for any needed expansion to accommodate more service-users and office staff. Dorset County Council should consider making better use of our facilities – before embarking on major and expensive building programs.”
Coun Wallace, who is a nurse, said he urged people to contact him if they were interested in the possibility of running the Sidney Gale home in Flood Lane as a social enterprise project.
“This would be a unique project,” he added. “I believe it could be run cheaper and more efficiently than by the county council “I am asking people who might be interested in taking this further to contact me on 01308 456454 or via firstname.lastname@example.org “This is an opportunity for change, but positive change.
“We can’t allow the county council to walk away from its responsibilities but we are getting less and less service provision for our pounds. I want to protect Sidney Gale and keep the Sidney Gale site in Bridport, in its entirety and on the same site.
“If we can show that we can do this and we can prove it then we could do it under the Localism Act. It would work, particularly if anybody and everybody is fighting for this community asset.”
* Coun Jill Haynes, county cabinet member for adult social care urged people of all ages in the town to make their views known. “We need Bridport residents to tell us what they think of the options and discuss with us how they would like to see services delivered in the future.
“The comments we receive will be reflected in any further plans and considered by county councillors before they make any decisions,” she said.
Full details of the county council suggested options for adult social care provision in Bridport are online at dorsetforyou.com/bridport-consultation or a questionnaire can be collected at Bridport Town Council, the tourist information office, Bridport Library, The Fisherman’s Arms, Sidney Gale Home and Bridport Community Resource Centre on Flood Lane.
The consultation is open until March 7.