More day centres set to close

SET TO CLOSE ... Wilfred Street Day Centre in Boldon Colliery.
SET TO CLOSE ... Wilfred Street Day Centre in Boldon Colliery.

SOUTH Tyneside now has just three core day centres – the Father James Walsh Centre in Hebburn, and Perth Green Community Centre and the Phab Club, both in Jarrow.

As a result of the review, the day centre at Gainsborough Avenue, South Shields, is to be re-located – to an as-yet unknown location.

Centres at Wilfred Street, Boldon Colliery, and Hampden Street, South Shields, are to close – with services moving to the Father James Walsh Centre.

Services in Ocean Road Community Centre and the Cleadon Park health centre, both South Shields, are also to move and will form part of the council’s new model.

That will result in service users being directed by staff at a new community hub – eventually to be established on the site of the former Wouldhave House building at South Shields’ Market Place – to alternative services across the borough that meet their individual needs.

The council has pledged it will provide transport “where needed” for service users to reach alternative venues.

The council says the new ‘flexible approach’ to day services is a way to safeguard and improve services to ensure they are “sustainable in a difficult financial climate”.

A spokesman said: “It’s about safeguarding services rather than focusing on the buildings where they have taken place in the past.

“By using a smaller number of bases, we will spend less on maintaining expensive and inefficient buildings, and more on the activities and support that many people have told me they value so much.

“Almost nine out of 10 people in consultations supported the idea of a new central hub for day services.

“Rather than being attached to a particular base and either taking part in activities there or travelling from there to activities, service users will access activities through a central hub which provides advice, information and signposting rather than activities themselves.

“This approach means service users and their families can have more choice and a wider range of activities, as well as in some cases having the option to travel directly to their activity rather than going to a centre first and travelling on from there.

“The central hub will be based in the new ‘community hub’ building on the Wouldhave House site – in the meantime we are looking at a number of options for a temporary base.”

The future of the units axed is yet to be decided.