1100 protest at day care cuts

Wilma Milligan hands the petition to Maybole Community Council
Wilma Milligan hands the petition to Maybole Community Council

A public petition has raised 1100 signatures protesting at the closure of all elderly day care provision in Maybole.

Elderly residents now travel by bus to Girvan. Petition organiser Wilma Milligan said the fact there was no longer day care in Maybole was a ‘disgrace’ as she handed the document to the town’s councillors.

Wilma was a carer for 18 years and told community councillors: “Day care is a very important part of people’s life - it could affect each of you and your families. It is difficult to accept there is no day care with an increasing elderly population and Maybole should be considered a large enough catchment area to warrant its own facility.”

Wilma explained that day care at Maybole Health Centre had been integrated with other health services, but had now been closed down and elderly residents were now being taken by bus to Girvan to access care.

Wilma said that day care was also provided at Castle View, and that one reason for the closure of Castle View was that South Ayrshire Council had ‘run the facility down’ and instructed that there should be no further referrals.

This means that residents who now have to attend Girvan have to travel by mini-bus.”

There are approximately 11 people travelling daily and the staff from Castle View have been transferred to Girvan.

Residents who decided they did not want to go to Girvan had been advised that places at Rainbow Services would be available and Councillor Brian Connolly confirmed that he had received such assurances.

However, the Rainbow Services facility has also shut down as it is not viable.

Wilma told community councillors that as far as she was aware, initially there was “block” funding but due to the requisite numbers not attending, the format had been changed to cover only those attending. It was accepted that Rainbow was not a charity; they had incurred losses for two years, but they have intimated that they could remain open should there be sufficient numbers attending.

Jim McDermott said a number of people not using Girvan now stayed at home and seemed to have “given up”.

The petition was handed to Mark Fletcher, Maybole Community Council chairman, and it was agreed that a meeting be arranged with South Ayrshire Council’s Chief Executive as urgently as possible.

Mark Fletcher paid tribute to Wilma, saying she “has done a sterling job gathering all the information relating to this matter and equally the effort put in with speaking to members of the public and raising awareness of this serious issue”.

He added: “Wilma has presented us with a petition of over 1100 signatures which proves to us this is a very real concern to the people of Maybole. Wilma has actually carried out a large part of our function for us, and that is to ascertain, coordinate and express opinion, so we will happily take this petition to South Ayrshire Council to open discussions and a meaningful dialogue to work with the council and the people of Maybole to find a way forward with this matter.

“There is no doubt that the closure of the Day Care facility at the Health Centre was a blow for the community but there was the buffer of Rainbow Services picking up the mantle. The fact that Rainbow are no longer in a position, through no fault of their own, to offer this facility is a major blow to our community and we have to work together now to resolve this issue for the good of the people that need this service now and in the future. We will be arranging meetings with the council as quickly as is possible.”

Kenny Leinster, South Ayrshire Council’s Head of Community Care and Housing, said: “We are committed to ensuring our service users have access to quality daycare provision.

“All those who previously made use of either Castle View or Rainbow Services in Maybole are now enjoying the benefits of the daycare offered within Nursery Court in Girvan and this seems to be working very well. We are unaware of any concerns from service users regarding this arrangement and any petition presented to the council will be considered by our Public Processes Panel.

“In the meantime, we will continue to work closely with our service users to ensure they continue to enjoy excellent daycare provision that makes a real difference for them.”