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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

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Respite centre closure on hold

PLANS to close a West Cumbrian children’s respite centre have been put on hold.

Cumbria Primary Care Trust wanted to close the Seacroft centre at St Bees and replace it with community-based respite care.

The proposals were fiercely opposed by users of the centre and MPs Tony Cunningham and Jamie Reed said they were prepared to fight to keep the centre open.

A 7,000-name petition was handed to Mr Reed in opposition of the centre.

A special Cumbria County Council scrutiny group has urged Cumbria Primary Care Trust and the county council's own Children's Services department to consider keeping St Bees' Seacroft children's respite centre open for the time being.

Cumbria County Council set up a special committee to respond to the plans, which were out for consultation, and recommended that the closure plans were postponed while work was carried out to produce a solution for the replacement of services.

The PCT board is due to discuss the recommendation at a meeting on April 25.

Anne Ridgway, interim head of children’s services for Cumbria PCT, said: “We have listened to the anxieties of parents, we appreciate the amount of time the committee has dedicated to fact finding and considering this issue and we will be presenting a revised set of recommendations to Cumbria Primary Care Trust board at their meeting on 25 April.”

Kyle Askew, of Mitchell Avenue, Northside, attends the centre.

His mum Wendy has been campaigning to keep it open.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted that the plans have been put on hold. But I think there is still a way to go and we need to keep the pressure on.

“They have taken notice of us and for the time being it has give us a bit of breathing space. I just hope they will keep Seacroft open. If they threaten us with closure again, we’ll do the same thing.”

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