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Petition demands co-design and co-production of respite centre closure options

More than 300 people have signed an e-petition against the closure of respite services for adults living with learning disabilities in Hemel Hempstead and across the county.

Hertfordshire County Council is undergoing a consultation process on whether to close three centres offering ‘short breaks’ for the disabled – Tewin Road in Hemel Hempstead, Hixberry Lane in St Albans, and Apton Road in Bishops Stortford.

Jackie Wilks, whose daughter has learning disabilities, created the petition calling for the council to take a different approach when liaising with families. It has now received 336 signatures from the public.

The council said the services were being closed because they were under-used, but the petition asks for adult care services to examine the reasons for under-use and learn from families and people with learning disabilities about the options they would like to see in the future.

The petition states: “We are instructing adult care services to hold off on any proposals to close existing services and take the time to work with families and people with learning disabilities to understand the reasons for the current under-usage and the options they would like to see developed in the future. We believe that this approach will ensure best value and will also enable a true co-design and co-production of personalised and flexible options for overnight respite care.”

An initial consultation closed on November 7, which called for Isabel Court in Hoddesdon to be closed instead of the Bishops Stortford centre, and the second consultation is open until January 21.

The council estimated that the initial plans to close the three centres would save £900,000 a year, which they said they could better spend elsewhere.


Article originally appeared on Hemel Today

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