Wirral day centre campaigners’ bid to save £750,000 to keep Moreton centre open
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a closure-threatened day centre said they must prove they could save £750,000 to keep it open.
Wirral Council revealed on Monday that Moreton day centre, for adults with physical and learning difficulties, was its “preferred option” for closure out of three facing the axe as part of money-saving measures.
It had previously announced it planned to close either Moreton, Heswall or Eastham day centres.
The council says the closure – together with a proposal to consolidate mental health day centre provision into one centre – would save £2m over the next three years.
Budget projections are based on this option saving £750,000 in 2013-14 alone – and it is this figure campaigners are now focusing on.
They are looking at creating a social enterprise and other measures to run all Wirral’s day centres more efficiently, for example buying milk more cheaply from supermarkets.
Stephen McGreal, whose daughter Nicola attends Moreton day centre, said: “We had a meeting with the council on Tuesday and they are open to suggestions of how the £750,000 can be saved. They’re looking for a bunch of willing amateurs to come up with the savings We believe we can and now we have to prove it. But that £750,000 is just for this year and they will be looking to make further savings after that.”
Wirral Council says Moreton day centre, in Pasture Road, is the least expensive to run in terms of cost per head out of the three that were facing the axe.
But it was criticised for having the “least added value”, less community engagement and the “least user friendly environment”.
The day centre is currently attended by 136 people.
Graham Hodkinson, Wirral council’s director of adult social care, said it had “no option” because the council spent more than similar local authorities on day services.
He said: “We have to deliver these services more cost effectively.
“The recommendation to close Moreton has been made primarily due to the size and design of the service, and also because it is furthest away from our desired vision of delivering services for people with disabilities in much smaller settings.”
A consultation on the closure will run until June 5.