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Rebel Labour councillors say the Town Hall CAN save the Netherwood Centre

Kilburn politicians on collision course with their own cabinet colleagues over dementia day centre's future

06 April, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Doug Beattie, Maryam Eslamdoust and Thomas Gardiner outside Netherwood

REBEL Labour councillors believe they have unearthed figures that should stop their colleagues closing Camden’s purpose-built dementia day centre.

Kilburn ward councillors Douglas Beattie, Maryam Eslamdoust and Thomas Gardiner have come up with an alternative care plan which they believe would keep Netherwood Centre, in West Hampstead, open, but still save money for the Town Hall.

The three are campaigning against their own party’s proposal to close the centre in Netherwood Street. Camden Council, facing central government cuts, is considering the closure of four dementia and elderly people’s day centres and bringing users under one roof at a refurbished Kingsgate Resource Centre, in West Hampstead.

The Town Hall says that by closing Netherwood, Raglan Centre in Kentish Town, Charlie Ratchford Centre in Chalk Farm and the existing day centre at Kingsgate the council would save £582,283 from its current spend of £1.65million. Under the Kilburn councillors’ alternative plan, centre users at Raglan would move to Netherwood, which they say would save the council as much as £432,222.

The £150,000 shortfall in savings could be made up by merging management staff, said Cllr Beattie, who added: “It may not be viable to shut a specialist centre like Netherwood when you are only saving such a small amount of money.”

Cllr Gardiner said: “We have found figures which show the council could still save £432,000 from changes to day centres while keeping Netherwood Day Centre open as a specialist centre of excellence for dementia day care.” A public consultation on the changes ends on Sunday.

Friends of Netherwood campaigner Jane Clinton said she was suspicious of the council figures throughout the process, adding: “How can we make a decision on this and give the council our blessing when we don’t know what it is to replace Netherwood with?”

But, mapping out the reasons for the changes, Labour social care chief Councillor Georgia Gould said: “We need to rethink how we deliver social care in the face of greatly reduced government funding and a growing and ageing population.” She added: “The purpose of our consultation is to seek the views of service-users, their carers and families on our proposals to reduce the number of day centres from which we provide services, without reducing the level of care we provide to our older people. “As part of this consultation we will be considering this alternative proposal.”

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