LETTER: Marsden Centre closure - the facts

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I would like to correct some inaccuracies in your report on the proposed closure of the Marsden Resource Centre, Nelson, (Pendle Today, January 3rd).

Far from being the subject of rumours or uncertainty, discussions on the proposed closure of the centre have been totally transparent. Over the past four months, the county council’s social care staff have fully consulted service users and their families.

In June 2011, the Marsden Centre was closed temporarily to allow much-needed improvements. While that work was being done, people continued to receive their services at Temple Street, Burnley, which had recently undergone a £2m. refurbishment, or at the Courtyard in Market Street, Nelson.

However, by July 2011, the number of people still wishing to attend the Marsden Centre on a daily basis had fallen to only six people out of a possible 65.

The main reason for this decline in numbers was that service users, particularly those with lower level needs, decided to have a personal budget and use their funds to pay for support to help them use resources within their local communities, such as community centres, local leisure services and adult education, rather than attend day centres.

It therefore became apparent the Marsden Centre was no longer financially viable, especially at a time when the county council has to make savings.

As a result, we wrote to remaining service users on September 3rd to explain their services would continue to be provided at Temple Street or the Courtyard while we reviewed the future of the Marsden Centre.

A meeting between social care managers, County Coun. Mike Calvert and the 12 remaining service users and their families took place on September 21st.

At this meeting, it was agreed no further steps would be taken to close the Marsden Centre until the service users had all had individual reviews and were happy with their alternative support arrangements.

This process has now been completed. Now, after using the newly-refurbished day centre in Temple Street and the Courtyard, Nelson, most of the remaining service users said they would be happy to continue using these services.

A proposal to close the Marsden Centre will therefore go before County Coun. Mike Calvert on February 7th.

A number of community groups have expressed an interest in taking over the site. These options will be considered over the coming months.

Mary A Lawrenson

County Manager, In-House Adult Disability Provider Services