ADULT social care boss Allan West has unveiled his vision for the future of day services for the elderly and people with disabilities in South Tyneside.
Coun West says he believes the council’s move towards “individualising” care is right, but accepts that change to routines are sometimes difficult for people to accept.
However, he believes the “cultural and lifestyle horizons” of service users will be expanded hugely by the new approach.
He said: “This is about providing person-centred – not building-centred – care, and we believe it is the right approach.
“It is all about enabling people to live more fulfilling lives.
“It’s about looking at their individual needs and addressing them.
“I’m not saying it’s not going to be hard work, because it will be.
“We need to sit down, not only with the individuals but with their families and carers, and talk through exactly what they want and how they feel.
“We want to improve lives and the quality of lives. And the approach is working.
“I met someone recently whose daughter with learning difficulties had spent the day at Bede’s World in Jarrow, and he told me how much she had got out of the experience.”
Coun West said expanding the cultural lives of service users was also at the heart of the approach.
He added: “Take, for example, the Arts4Wellbeing group in South Shields, which is really doing some wonderful work out in the community.
“We need to extend horizons and cultural dimensions.”
The retired teacher accepts there will be doubters over the new approach, but believes it will be vindicated.
He said: “I can absolutely understand that people have concerns, but I think it is right to move away from individuals merely being taken to a centre and spending their whole day there.
“There is so much more out there to explore. I also believe that most service users want to extend their horizons.”