A multi million pound investment in care and support services for people with learning disabilities is being proposed by North Yorkshire County Council.
Day centres and respite care provision in key locations across the county will benefit from a £7.7 million programme of work drawn up by the council’s Health and Adult Services directorate, and approved by members of the authority’s Executive yesterday (July 26).
Coupled with the introduction of personal budgets to help people with learning disabilities to live independently, the programme represents a significant improvement for people with learning disabilities and their families in North Yorkshire.
“This is a major investment, which demonstrates our total commitment to supporting the most vulnerable people in our society,” said County Councillor Clare Wood, Executive Member for Health and Adult Services.
“Despite the extremely difficult financial constraints under which we are operating, we believe that this work is essential – not only to improve the general level of care and support, but also to create a service which provides consistently high standards in every part of this very large county.”
The existing service has inequalities across the different geographical areas of the county and includes a number of buildings which are unable to meet the needs of people with complex needs. In some cases they are not up to modern or required standards, which can result in a loss of dignity and respect for people who use the services.
Three centres of population have been identified as needing development to bring their facilities up to the required levels – Selby, Scarborough, and Craven.
In Selby, the county council will invest some £3.8 million in remodelling Selby Day Activity Centre. Amongst the improvements planned for the site are the provision of a residential four-bed respite unit with a lounge and a garden, and the creation of a day centre for people with complex physical needs. It will include facilities that can be used by all disabled people in the locality.
In the Craven area, the existing five-bed respite facility at Gargrave House is unable to provide a service to people with multiple needs. It will be replaced by the new purpose-built Croft House, in Skipton, at a cost of around £1.4 million.
In Scarborough, the council will spend £2.4 million redeveloping the Elder Street resource. New facilities will include day care for people with learning disabilities and complex needs and it will provide activity rooms, two sensory rooms, a quiet room, a kitchen, changing facilities, a community café, an assisted technology (telecare) demonstration room, and numerous meeting and activity rooms for the wider community. The new development will replace Scarborough Training Centre and Burnside facilities.
“These buildings and services cannot remain as they no longer provide services to modern standards and expectations, and crucially they are not capable of being tailored to the needs and desires of the people for whom they are a vital support system,” added Councillor Wood.
The council has agreed to a consultation exercise with users of the facilities, and their carers, in relation to the transition period and the internal fit out of the buildings, before the plans are finalised.