'Isolation' fear over day centre closure in Midhurst

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The Grange
Image caption,
The Grange building is to be redeveloped as a community centre by Chichester District Council

Residents fighting plans to close a West Sussex day centre for elderly and disabled adults say they fear its clients will become isolated.

The Grange, in Midhurst, cares for people with conditions such as dementia or brain injury, but will close when the current building is redeveloped.

"This will cut people off, especially if you are in an outlying village," said Midhurst councillor John Quilter.

The county council said local groups would be providing social activities.

The closure of The Grange day centre - which will become a community centre - is part of a programme of changes by the county council designed to save £1m a year.

Other centres affected are The Brooks in Pulborough and Harwood House in Horsham.

A three-month consultation is currently under way.

'Most vulnerable'

Mr Quilter said the day care services provided the only social interaction some users received.

"They are the most vulnerable people in our society," he said.

"I also feel sorry for the carers - the unsung heroes of our society.

"The time people are at the day centre is a much-needed break for them."

West Sussex cabinet member for adults' services, Peter Catchpole, said day care centres often had vacancies because people were choosing to use their care budgets to buy other services.

In future, people with dementia and complex physical conditions would be able to go to Rotherlea day centre in Petworth.

Other services, such as lunch, social and arts and crafts clubs, could be provided by the voluntary and charity sectors.

"We would encourage local groups to supply those services," he said.

"Part of the programme for the county is to reinvest money with these types of organisations."

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