Success in East Renfrewshire

The Friends of Barrhead and Thornliebank Resource Centres who were campaigning to save both their local day centres have put out the following statement from East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership who have now decided to keep o[en both centres.

Please read the very brief statement below from the East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership – it is an excellent result for the group but the statement also demonstrates our need to keep together and to keep engaging with them as the centres start to change.

We will thank all the individuals and organisations who have offered their support over the last years – ERDA, PAMIS, Learning Disability Alliance,Downs Syndrome Society, SDSForumER, carers’ representatives, MSPs etc

This is a great group and we have made a significant impact in East Renfrewshire….( and beyond  – some Glasgow carers rightly feeling even more now that they were never listened to.)



In February this year the Council approved a range of savings measures proposed by the HSCP including £90k which we hoped to achieve by the closure of one of our learning disability day centre buildings.  We saw this as a natural consequence of our vision and strategy for daytime activities for people with learning disabilities.  That vision, which we had been developing over a number of years, was for people with learning disabilities to access a much wider range of community based options, from volunteering to employment and participating in a wider range of community activities with support.  Our intent was to work with a range of groups and agencies to develop alternatives that met the aspirations of people with learning disabilities to live good lives.  It was also a good fit with self directed support, where more personalised support arrangements – perhaps with alternative providers, would evolve over time.

With hindsight, offering the £90k saving was not the best way of achieving that vision, as very quickly, our intent was lost and the building closure became the focus.

We have taken time to reflect on the best way of getting back to the original vision and have had some early discussion with officers from some of our third sector partners, the Carers Centre, SDS Forum and Voluntary Action, to look at a different way of realising our ambitions for people with learning disabilities, whilst looking at alternative ways of reaching our savings target.

Our early ideas include changing the use of the buildings, keeping them both as “hubs” for people with learning disabilities but opening them for wider community use.  We would like to explore the potential of sharing space with a number of organisations, possibly in Barrhead where we currently have a HSCP office accommodation, to provide more of a one stop shop focussing on support for independent living and self directed support working alongside our own staff.  These two ideas would create different, more inclusive environments and offer potential for us to bring in income to offset running costs and lead to the creation of social enterprises that could attract grants and generate additional funds.  These are ideas that have also been suggested by some family members and we are keen to work with them to develop them further.

We recognise that the current buildings do matter to people, and in this way we hope we can work together to improve what we can both offer people with learning disabilities and other community groups.

We will work this proposal up and take it to the IJB, but we have broad support from the Council Administration leaders to develop these ideas further.

We do still have to identify a saving of £90k by March 2017 and I hope that we can work together with people with learning disabilities, their families and our third sector partners to find alternative ways to achieve it.


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