Fears over daycare centre’s future

Orion Centre is undergoing a review
Orion Centre is undergoing a review
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A day care centre which could face closure is a ‘vital lifeline’ for the elderly, according to the daughter of a woman who uses the service.

Gill Blunden, from Herstmonceux who is a carer for her mother and father, said the Orion day care centre in Hailsham helps to enhance elderly people’s quality of life and brings a new dimension to their lives.

But the centre is one of six under review by East Sussex County Council, which is currently consulting on several options for the future of services.

The council has made it clear that closure of day care centres is an option. The council could decide to re-provision services in the voluntary, community or independent sector or commission new services within the voluntary, community or independent sector. Or it could decide to leave services as they are now.

Gill, whose mum Ruth Thompson attends the day centre. said: “I am a full time carer for my mum and dad. My dad is disabled, due to a stroke and mum suffers from memory loss.

“Last December it was suggested that mum could start going to the Orion Daycare centre. She now goes twice a week and it has transformed our lives. The staff at the Orion Centre have provided mum with outstanding day care facilities. She is very happy and looks forward to going. Mum is so happy there and it is wonderful to know that I can leave my mum with the staff, knowing she will be well looked after. When mum is at daycare I can spend quality time with my dad whose needs are different to those of my mum’s. So as a family this service is essential to us and many others.”

Gill said the nearest care centre is in Eastbourne.

She continued: “I strongly believe that the service is an essential element to those who use it and for the carers involved. For some of the elderly who use this service, it is their only link with the outside world. Elderly people are an important part of our society, it is thanks to them that we enjoy many aspects of our own lives today. We should provide these types of facilities that can easily be accessed. I am not aware of an existing day care facility in the area. The nearest one I believe is Eastbourne which is not practical for us as it would take me two hours of driving to get mum there and back. The staff at the Orion Centre do an outstanding job. They are professional and offer a fun and happy environment for my mum and many others.

“East Sussex County Council provide a wonderful daycare service. Please don’t change it.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “We are currently consulting on various options for our day care centres including the Orion Centre in Hailsham.”