Have your say on Norwich day centre plans

Sarah HallPensioners battling to stop their day centres from closing have urged people to make their voices heard - as the clock ticks down on the end of consultation.Sarah Hall

Pensioners battling to stop their day centres from closing have urged people to make their voices heard - as the clock ticks down on the end of consultation.

Norfolk people have one week left to give their views on proposals for the Essex Rooms, Silver Rooms and the two social services days at Hempnall Mill.

Norfolk County Council revealed last year that it was proposing to close the council-run centres as part of a switch to focusing day services for people with dementia and re-ablement needs.

That sparked outrage from pensioners who use the day centres, along with their families, who say the centres are a lifeline for the people who use them.

Pensioners collected petitions and organised public meetings to try to keep the centres open, while the Evening News started a Fight For Our Day Centres campaign to highlight their battle.

The county council launched a consultation over the proposals in the middle of December and people have until next Monday to have their say.

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Council chiefs said they wanted to hear more about the people who use the centres ahead of a final decision which is due on June 14, and say people will be offered an alternative service.

David Harwood, cabinet member for adult social services at Norfolk County Council, said: 'Having a range of day opportunities which suit all needs and tastes is important because it helps people to live independently in their own homes for longer.

'We recognise that traditional day centres are still a much-needed service, but also realise that we will be expected to do more with less money - and therefore we must focus our in-house services on those with the greatest need.

'It's important to stress that whatever the outcome, no-one will be left without a service. Everyone who is currently attends the Essex Rooms, Silver Rooms or the two social services days at Hempnall Mill will be offered a replacement service, although it may not be at the day centre that they are using at the moment. Groups of friends will be kept together, where possible.'

But Hilda Bullen, 81, who uses the Silver Rooms, said: 'We still want people to let the council know that we don't want the centres to close. There's not long left for the consultation now so we have to stay on the ball.'

The pensioners are planning an open meeting at the Silver Rooms on Thursday , from 2pm until 4pm, when people are invited to join them to talk about the future of the centre.

To request a paper copy of the county council's consultation, call 0344 800 8020, visit www.YourNorfolkYourSay.org or e-mail dayservicesconsultation@norfolk.gov.uk

What do you think of the proposed closures? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk