I would like to convey my concern at the proposed “redesign” of the Ability Centre in Galashiels.
I am aware of this centre as my mother, Isobel Ness, has been attending for several years following a heart transplant and complications which have meant she has been wheelchair-bound since 2004.
During my mother’s time at the centre she has been able to learn to write again, cook, take an active role in client representation, and access staff for support in all areas of day-to-day life which are, without doubt, more challenging for those with a disability.
The other important role that the centre plays is that it allows my father, who is also unwell, some much-needed respite.
My father cares for mum 24 hours per day, seven days a week at home. He had to give up work years ago in order to do this, and both he and mum have had to struggle for every bit of support that has been required over the years. This, of course, has a financial impact as well as emotional and physical. Mum currently attends the centre three times per week and this time away is simply invaluable.
The staff at the centre have always been highly professional and I have always been very impressed with the standard of care that not only my mum, but the whole family has received.
I live in Edinburgh where I can see the opportunities for people with disabilities are wide-ranging compared with an area like the Borders. I still find it hard to comprehend that access to transport, venues and care around the region for this group is hard to access at times.
I would urge the reconsideration of the redesign process as the potential implications of this are far reaching for us as a family, but am sure for many others also.