Closure plan for Sheffield elderly centres

Image caption,
The council operates seven resource centres for elderly people in the city

A union has criticised plans to close two resource centres for the elderly in South Yorkshire.

Sheffield City Council said the Ravenscroft and Foxwood centres had been earmarked for closure because demand for the services had fallen

The union Unison said the plan was an attack on the "most vulnerable people in society".

A consultation with the public, centre users and unions will take place before a decision is made, the council said.

The council operates seven resource centres, providing respite beds, services for those who have just left hospital and day care services.

Proposals to build two more under a private finance initiative will be shelved if the council's plans go ahead.

Ravenscroft at Handsworth provides care to the elderly, while the Foxwood unit at Manor Hurlfield View, in Gleadless, specialises in caring for those with dementia.

Services 'not needed'

Eddie Sherwood, the council's interim director of adult services, said: "At any one moment about a third of the respite care beds and the day centre places are empty because people are choosing alternative support.

"There will always be people who will still want to have a couple of weeks stay in a residential home or go along to a day centre.

"We will always guarantee to make that available - it's just we don't need as many of those services as we develop the alternatives."

Mr Sherwood said if the Ravenscroft and Foxwood centres were closed the council would try to offer staff alternative jobs within the service.

Carol Ring, Unison steward at Care4U, the council body which operates the centres, said: "People using the services at the moment have chosen to go to day centres and meet with friends and go on trips.

"They're the most vulnerable people in society.

"From what Eddie Sherwood is saying, if that service is still offered to them it will be by the private sector not the public sector."

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