South Scotland

Scottish Borders day centre closures a 'positive move'

Elderly woman Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The council said services in the region would be tailored to individual needs

A council leader has said closing day centres will be a "really positive move" for the elderly in the area.

Scottish Borders Council has agreed the move, which it hopes will ultimately deliver savings of more than £300,000.

Leader Shona Haslam said all those affected would be moved to a personalised package of care.

She said none of the centres across the region would be shut until the people involved were happy with the alternative service offered.

Image copyright Scottish Borders Council
Image caption Council leader Shona Haslam said nothing would change until people were happy with what was being put in place

"Now that care can involve going to men's sheds, going to walking football, going to walking netball, going along to tea dances, going shopping, going down the pub - all of those of kind of things are included in this package," she said.

"But it is really about getting our elderly to maintain their life within the community and give them back a sense of life."

A report to councillors said the number of users of day centre services had fallen in the past five years from 240 to 43.

It conceded that the closures could result in job losses if "no suitable alternative positions" could be found for day service staff.

Among the centres operated by SBC's arms-length organisation SB Cares are Oakview Day Centre in Galashiels, the Deanfield Day Centre in Hawick, Jedburgh Day Centre, and Kelso Day Centre.

'Levels of need'

Ms Haslam said none of them would be closed until users agreed to replacement services.

"We really want to get the message out that nothing is going to change until the individuals are happy with the care package that's in place for them," she said.

"It is really about finding out what the individual wants to achieve, what the individual values in their life and making sure that they can continue to do that to a ripe old age."

Kelso councillor Tom Weatherston said it was about giving people options rather than providing a service and saying "take it or leave it".

"I think what we need to remember is that many elderly people have different levels of needs," he said.

"So to give the people a choice of what they want to do is, in my opinion, a good way forward.

"The important thing is before we move away from the day centre provision we need to get everybody tied up to another activity and also give their relatives respite, that's most important."