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Day Centres must be kept open

PUBLISHED: 11:45 12 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:22 05 July 2010

CONGRATULATIONS to The Journal in awarding Janet and David Barwick, with the Letter of the Week Award.

They have fought tirelessly for many years to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities.

CONGRATULATIONS to The Journal in awarding Janet and David Barwick, with the Letter of the Week Award.

They have fought tirelessly for many years to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities.

The present problems all relate back to the government's white papers Valuing People in 2001 and Valuing People Now at the end of 2007, which set out that people with learning disabilities should be able to participate in the activities other people take for granted, like getting a job, travelling, raising a family and going out with friends, with less dependency on large traditional day centres.

For the more able people with learning difficulties there are many positive things in these white papers but for the less able and the ones with profound and complex needs, there is little provision. These people, many without capacity from birth, with a greatly reduced mental age, often that of an infant which adds to their vulnerability, do need life-long care, support and protection to a varying degree according to the extent of their disabilities. According to Department of Health figures there are 190,000 people without capacity.

One of the government's requirements states that no one will be living with the NHS, as their landlord and Lothingland Community Unit comes under this, but surely these modern units could be transferred to social services keeping all the present occupants together.

The Government's scheme, designed to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities by moving them towards independent living with the right support including those with the most complex needs, is totally unrealistic.

The splitting up of the Lothingland residents, who will lose contact with their friends and the high level of care they receive, should not be allowed to happen.

Likewise day centres for profound and complex needs, like John Turner House Day Centre, in Lowestoft, which provides excellent specialised care services, must be kept opened along with all the other day centres that parent/carers require to be there for their loved ones

DAVID HOWARTH

Waveney Drive

Lowestoft

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