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You are in: London > London Local > Croydon > Spare Time > Remembering Day Care in Croydon

Pictures of clients of Croydon Day Centres

Some of the users of Day Centres

Remembering Day Care in Croydon

Former clients from some of Croydon’s Day Centres have been collating and recording their memories as part of a special project - 'The History of Day Centres'.

The project has been exploring people with learning disabilities’ memories of Croydon’s Day Services and their views of recent changes, which have seen the larger Day Centres closed in favour of smaller community-orientated Resource Bases.

The 'In Our Own Words' exhibition which is currently in the Museum of Croydon is the culmination of the 'History of Day Centres' project, and offers just a small taste of the numerous interviews conducted and hundreds of photographs collected during the project.

woman screwing up cupboard

Mandy Pearson displaying scrap book

Using objects, images and audio clips they have managed to produce a fascinating story of people with learning disabilities, including memories of the industrial work some of them undertook, of delivering the local news papers, dancing at discos and running for the England athletics team.

In their own words, here are some of their memories:

Jonathan Stokoe who is a former user, reminisces about his time delivering the local news paper:

“The van come in with newspapers, it was like that stacked of papers from here right the way up and we had to take them all the way down the other end of the room.”

“Then we took them out. I had one guy coming out with his dog, and his dog is friendly but as soon as I put the paper in, he was like that, nearly had my hand! Don’t know why they stopped it now.”

Brian McClosky remembers: Digging and planting out the plants at the Cherry Orchard Garden Centre.”

"We need to keep the memories of day centres and everybody who used them"

Pat Hall, former user

Ida Adeniyi said: “I was in the England team – I was in England and I was England captain as well for running. Running in a big race is very hard, till you get used to it, very, very hard till you start getting used to it.”

changes in Day Services:

Clients had mixed views on whether the closure of Day Centres were a good thing. 

Here are a few of their views:

Sharon Phillips, who attended one of Croydon’s Day Centres for over 20 years, said: “Too many people, that’s why they closed the Day Centre. ... I like the Resource Base, good, good place.”

Pippa Goode said: “Well I think it was sold to save money.  Sold to save money, and I don't like that, what the government’s done, they took all the work away". 

"Now I am a little bit upset, because we used to get paid here, [for their work] and we're not paid now.  And a few years ago we were told we'd have to pay to come in here, but luckily it didn't come up so it didn't happen." 

Simon Flute said: “The other thing is that they were trying to save up money. I think the government should come down here and see the staff and members and listen to what they have to say.”

Pat Hall said: “That’s why people come here, because it was Tony Blair’s idea for people not to stay in Day Centres. He thought Resource Bases were better for people. Tony Blair was right because people don't want to stay in them all their lives, do they? They get bored. It’s better to get outside.”

"This is an exciting project for all sorts of reasons, but especially because it involves people with learning difficulties"

Dorothy Atkinson, Open University

The project

Dorothy Atkinson is the Professor of Learning Disability at The Open University. The project was carried out by the University's Health and Social Care department as part of a Heritage Lottery funded project to preserve these clients' history.  She said:

“The project marks the end of one era but also helps usher in the new. It aims to create a unique collection of 'stories' - oral, documentary and pictorial - to be made accessible to people in Croydon and beyond.”

“This is an exciting project for all sorts of reasons, but especially because it involves people with learning difficulties on both sides of the microphone and camera - in telling their own stories but also enabling other people to tell theirs”.

Pat Hall, who used to attend Waylands Day Centre and now goes to the Peter Sylvester Resource Base, also thinks the project is important.

“We need to keep the memories of day centres and everybody who used them. All this history needs to be opened to the public so they know how well were doing now”.

The archive generated by the project will be kept at the Local Studies Library in Croydon Clocktower.

The exhibition In Our Own Words will be at the Museum through to August.

For more details, visit their website on the top right hand of this page.

Do you have any memories of Day Centres in Croydon?  What do you think of the new Resource Bases?  Send me your comments/views email:

last updated: 06/06/2008 at 10:58
created: 05/06/2008

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