Vital Teviot Day Service in Hawick is back after a five-year campaign

Sean Elliot led Teviot Day Service campaign.Sean Elliot led Teviot Day Service campaign.
Sean Elliot led Teviot Day Service campaign.
Legal ruling led to restoration of vital service.

It’s been a hard-fought five year battle but an axed day service for the elderly is set to return ‘home’ to Hawick later this month.

Scottish Borders Council announced the closure of its six elderly day centres – in Eyemouth, Kelso, Jedburgh, Galashiels, Peebles and Hawick – in 2019, due to what it claimed was a reduction in user numbers.

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Although objections were raised, including a 3,000-signature petition, the local authority stuck by its decision.

But campaigners in Hawick, led by Sean Elliot, whose mum Madge was an attendee, launched a campaign to restore Teviot Day Service, located within the town’s Katharine Elliot Day Centre.

Their fight led to a legal ruling from Lady Carmichael, concluding that SBC failed to properly consider the needs to its members when it closed the service in 2020.

She said the local authority did not contemplate the impact the closure would have and ruled the action ‘unlawful’, while ordering it to reconsider its decision.

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Now the service is to return, located adjacent to and part of the same building as Hawick Community Hospital – ironically in the same location it was based until 2014 before moving to the Katharine Elliot Day Centre.

An official reopening day is being staged on Friday, April 19, with attendees expected to return before the end of the month.

The aim is that the service will be better than ever before, eventually opening seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm, and possibly being extended into the evening.

In a touching gesture, Sean’s 95-year-old mum Madge, herself a renowned campaigner for the return of the Borders Railway, is to cut the ribbon marking its restoration.

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Now Sean, who led the Teviot Day Service Support Group, hopes that the other five axed day services across the region can also return.

He said: “It’s good news that we have managed to turn the whole thing around from closure to reopening a new and hopefully improved service.

“It’s been a five-year campaign and a lot of hard work and we’re hopeful this can’t create a precedent for other areas in the Borders to fight their corner as-well and see day services reopened.

“We’ve had a co-ordinated campaign group here in Hawick, which motivates the public to get involved, and unless that happens in other areas you can envisage the result being ‘well nobody wants it, so it’s not happening’, when in fact there is obviously the same need that exists in Hawick across the Borders.”