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Hundreds respond to Norwich day centre proposals

PUBLISHED: 15:00 09 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:41 02 July 2010

Users and supporters of the Silver Rooms at an open meeting to discuss the future of the facility.

Users and supporters of the Silver Rooms at an open meeting to discuss the future of the facility.

Sarah Hall

More than 300 people have had their say on controversial proposals which could see the closure of two Norwich day centres for the elderly - and pensioners now have a nerve-wracking three month wait before they learn their fate.

More than 300 people have had their say on controversial proposals which could see the closure of two Norwich day centres for the elderly - and pensioners now have a nerve-wracking three month wait before they learn their fate.

Consultation ended yesterday over Norfolk County Council's plans to shake-up the sort of care it provides in its council-run centres.

County Hall wants to refocus its day services for people with dementia and re-ablement needs, while it would commission independent and voluntary organisations to provide day services for frail elderly people.

But that would signal the closure of the popular Essex Rooms and Silver Rooms in Norwich, while two social services days at Hempnall Mill in South Norfolk would also be stopped.

That sparked anger among the pensioners who use those services and the Evening News has highlighted the petitions, protests and public meetings they have organised through our Fight For Our Day Centres stories.

Following the outrage over the proposals, Norfolk County Council launched a consultation period in December to hear how the closures would affect the people who use the services - and received hundreds of replies.

The replies will now be analysed by an independent marketing and research company and a report will go before the council's cabinet for a final decision in the summer.

David Harwood, cabinet member for adult social services at Norfolk County Council, said: “Thank you to everyone who has responded to the consultation - it's really crucial that cabinet are able to make a decision which takes proper account of the views of people currently using our day services.

“It's important to stress that whatever the outcome, no-one will be left without a service and we will only consider proposals which fully reflect the comments made during the consultation.”

Harold Bodmer, director of Norfolk Adult Social Services, said: “Now that our consultation has finished, the feedback we have received will be analysed by an independent marketing and research company.

“We will take careful account of what's been said and feed people's views into our detailed proposals, which will go to Cabinet for a final decision in June.”

Last month, council bosses organised a workshop over the future of the centres amid suggestions that voluntary organisations might be interested in taking over the running of the day services in the current buildings.

And last week, pensioners formed a Friends of the Silver Rooms group to continue the battle to keep the centre open.

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

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