Campaigners rally behind bid to stop axe of Portsmouth day centre

From left, Terence Rierkert, Matt Chapman, Steve Kramer, Dan Deeks, Theresa Newstead, Simon Freeman and Josh Roux
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170948-1)

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DON’T take away our lifeline – that’s the plea of thousands of campaigners rallying against the decision to axe the Patey Day Centre.

As reported, the Cosham facility, which cares for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, has been earmarked for closure by the city council as it looks to save £100,000.

GROWING ANGER Ellie Savidge holds a petition signed by thousands of people against the closure of the Patey Day Centre. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (14107-3)

GROWING ANGER Ellie Savidge holds a petition signed by thousands of people against the closure of the Patey Day Centre. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (14107-3)

Subject to a consultation, services will be transferred to The Royal Albert Day Centre, in Landport, Portsmouth.

But more than 3,000 people have signed a petition against the plan to close the centre, which is used by 31 patients a week.

Many fear the quality of care would be affected since the other site, which takes up to 66 patients a day, is much bigger and there could be less one-to-one interaction.

Ellie Savidge, 40, who set up the petition, is upset because her mum Elaine Taylor, 80, attends twice a week and values the service.

‘It’s a lifeline for both the carers and the people who go there,’ she said.

‘Dementia is on the increase and there aren’t enough provisions now.’

In a letter to Mrs Savidge, Councillor Mike Hancock said he recognised the importance of the service, but admitted ‘difficult decisions’ have had to be made and ‘we simply do not have the resources to do everything we want.’

Portsmouth’s dementia action plan shows that in the next two years, 2,142 residents will have a form of dementia, with 11,78 having a mild form, 685 being moderate and 279 having a severe form.

Jackie Martin, 41, whose uncle Anthony Kneller volunteered at The Patey Day Centre for about six years, said: ‘If the council transported everyone into Portsmouth it would be overbearing on the number of spaces left.

‘There needs to be more day centres, it’s not a disease that is going away any time soon.’

Pompey director Mark Trapani has also thrown his weight behind the campaign.

‘It’s a tragedy that centres like this for the carers and patients concerned are being closed down due to funding,’ he said.

The council insists all Patey users will be accommodated.

Rob Watt, head of adult social care at the council, said: ‘Cuts in funding from central government mean that as a council, we have to save £10m this financial year, and by relocating this service we can make a significant saving without reducing the level and quality of service that people receive.’

A private meeting is being held with the city’s party leaders at St Peter and St Paul Church, in Wymering, on Thursday, January 23, over the issue.

· To sign the petition go to https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/help-save-specialist-day-care-for-people-with-alzheimers-in-portsmouth-north

CLUB COULD HOLD FUNDRAISERS TO SUPPORT EFFORTS

POMPEY could hold fundraising events in an effort to save the Patey Day Centre.

Mark Trapani, the club’s director, said the campaign would benefit from the backing of fans at Fratton Park.

As previously reported, Cllr Jim Patey raised £150,000 when he was mayor in 1992 which meant the centre, which is named after him, could be built.

Cllr John Ferrett, Labour group leader, said: ‘We have to be responsive and for the council to just dismiss this is not on.’

Cllr Donna Jones, Conservative group leader, said: ‘It’s imperative that the council provides a like-for-like service.’