Campaign launched to save dementia day centre in Northampton from council’s axe

The Drayton Centre in Kingsthorpe has been earmarked for closure.
The Drayton Centre in Kingsthorpe has been earmarked for closure.

Campaigners claim moves to close a day service for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s in Kingsthorpe are not motivated by meeting the needs of users.

Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) is currently proposing the closure of two day services that provide specialist care for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia: the Drayton Centre in Kingsthorpe and Stephenson Court in Kilsby.

Families and carers of the elderly people concerned have launched a campaign against the proposed closures with support of anti-cuts campaigners Save Northants Services.

One carer said: “The Drayton Centre is a wonderful centre delivering top class services to our family members. It must remain open.

“The alternative being suggested (Turn Furlong in Rookery Lane, Northampton) is inadequate, with insufficient staffing and facilities in place for the possible transfer of our loved ones. This means they will suffer.

“The Drayton Centre and Stephenson Court are a lifeline for exhausted and stretched families struggling to cope with the day to day management of their loved one’s degenerating mental states.”

“The specialist trained staff at Drayton Centre are providing an exceptional service, and the facilities it provides are unique. This makes an incredible difference to the happiness and cognitive functioning of loved ones.”

NCC says the proposals could save around £400,000 per year.

A spokesman for the families and carers said they feared that, as Turn Furlong is privately run, the council could be transferring services there to ensure the continuation of its contract.

He said: “The proposal to close the Drayton Centre service is therefore not really about saving money long-term or meeting the needs of vulnerable people, but ensuring the long-term financial viability of a private sector company at the expense of a quality public service to very vulnerable people.”

Families say they do not believe the day service at the Drayton Centre is under-occupied, claiming that at no time have they ever been informed of under-occupancy nor seen any advertising on behalf of the service.

A petition has been launched and campaigners will take to the streets of Northampton to garner support.

On Tuesday, December 13, the results of the consultation into the proposed closures will be made available to NCC’s cabinet, after which a final decision will be made on the future of the day centres.

The campaigners say they will be making the case at the cabinet meeting to keep the Drayton day centre service open and to reject further cuts to public services.