Kept in the dark

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Parents of people with learning difficulties are angry at what they see as being kept in the dark over alternatives once day care centres close.

In February 2011, Scottish Borders Council agreed a redesign of all day services, to provide a range of community-based opportunities and solutions.

But some families remain very worried, according to Ian Fraser of Melrose, whose daughter, Carol, 31, has attended Reiver Industries in Tweedbank for 10 years. It, along with others in Galashiels and Selkirk, is to close.

“Bear in mind this process has been ongoing for over two years and those ‘alternatives and opportunities’ the council talks about remain largely undelivered and unexplained, with the closure of the centres due in March,” Mr Fraser said, adding that anxious parents had been forced to lodge Freedom of Information requests to find out what was going on.

“It’s no wonder those affected are becoming more anxious about their future. The council is riding roughshod over people unable fight for themselves and who are amongst the most vulnerable in society, with the pretence that some other, as yet unexplained alternative, will enhance their wellbeing.”

The outcry over the closures has now seen councillors call for an urgent report on Reiver Industries after nearly 1,300 people signed a protest against the move.

Told this week of the concerns, the local authority’s social work department said the redesign had involved engagement with all stakeholders, including family carers.

“In the central Borders specifically, many people have successfully moved on to alternative opportunities within their communities,” said a statement.

“In addition, a social enterprise business in Galashiels, providing training and work experience, will be up and running in March 2014.”