Posted: Thu 19th Nov 2020

Updated: Thu 19th Nov

Councillors call for clarity on when in-house day services for disabled adults in Wrexham will reopen for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Nov 19th, 2020

Councillors have called for clarity on when in-house day services for disabled adults in Wrexham will reopen .

Services provided at the likes of the Cunliffe Centre’s have been closed since the outbreak of COVID-19 due to the high risk of a large number of people move in and out of the service.

40 clients typically use the service which is currently being evaluated and assessed to ensure it is COVID-safe in time for reopening.

Yesterday members of the council’s safeguarding, communities & wellbeing scrutiny committee discussed the reopening of local day care centres, with councillors questioning the timescale taken compared to neighbouring county boroughs.

Councillor Nigel Williams addressed the committee and asked about plans to reopen day care centres and highlighted how far down the line they were with regards to reopening the Cunliffe Centre.

He said: “I’ve been doing some research into Flintshire, our neighbouring authority with very similar numbers of COVID cases.

“Their version of the Cunliffe Centre is Hwb Cyfle – it opened in September, the same time as schools with limited numbers on a rota basis.

“Their small businesses, two of them is Abbey Metal, which produce garden gates – they opened this week – and Tri Ffordd, which is a gardening business – they opened late August.

“So, why are we delaying so much ourselves and when will we open?”

Marc Jones, interim senior head of services for adult social care, said that plans are being put in place to reopen the Cunliffe Centre and similar services provided at Erlas in a “reduced and safer fashion”.

However a date was not provided for when the day services are expected to reopen.

Mr Jones added: “It’s a thing that we have to balance very carefully in terms of safety versus provision of services, and we intend to follow the corporate processes that are in place.

“We do have a difference of between ourselves and Flintshire and, I do take the point that they’ve moved differently to us.

“We operate a few of our own day services but we do support a high number of people with direct payments and much of that support has continued during COVID, with families being able to manage that themselves.”

Councillor Brian Cameron said he “dreads” to think what the mental health of day care clients is currently like without the centres open.
“The sooner the better we can get them back,” he said.

“I take Nigel’s point – if they can do it in one area in Flintshire, I can’t believe we can’t do it here in Wrexham, and sooner rather than later.”

Councillor Beverley Parry-Jones, vice-chair, agreed with reopening the Cunliffe Centre but said the council should not be “browbeaten” into rushing a decision to open it, highlighting the safety aspect.

She added: “We certainly shouldn’t be comparing what neighbouring authorities are doing.

“I think throughout the whole of the pandemic Wrexham County Borough Council have done an absolutely sterling job in keeping the residents of the county safe.

“To rush a decision now into the reopening of a facility, and yes I do agree it does need to be opened, we shouldn’t be browbeaten into giving a date.

“I think we should continue the path that we’re on and follow all the health and safety measures that we’ve got in place to keep every resident safe.”

Both Cllrs Cameron and Williams agreed with the safety aspect brought up by the Vice-Chair, but Cllr Williams argued “eight to nine months isn’t rushing into anything,” as services across the border “opened three months ago.”

He added: “When you have people actually calling you almost in tears on the phone, saying ‘when are things going to open again?’ because their child is desperate to go back and they’re concerned with their mental health – if you have a phone call like that then believe me it does change your mind on your view of things.

“So, please, as soon as you feel this is safe to do so, as soon as we can, can we please start to do a phased return of opening centres? – just to offer some sort of service and respite for parents and carers.”

By Jordan Adams

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