A day centre for people with learning disabilities has been ‘left to fall into disrepair’ by West Sussex County Council – according to a carer.
Staff and customers with learning disabilities at Burnside Day Centre have had their say over the future of the Burgess Hill service.
West Sussex County Council said it is seeking to improve the day centre for service users – after council officers said the building was ‘beyond economical repair’.
A consultation report has been published. Customers, carers and their families were asked to comment on three options – to do nothing, to improve the building and develop the services, or to develop alternative services and close the existing building.
A Burnside carer said: “Although the service is excellent, the building is not fit for it’s current use. It has been left to fall into disrepair both internally and externally and has not been used to its full potential.
“This is a great shame as I’m certain that if it had been managed better by the county council, there would be many groups that would use the facilities.”
The centre’s stakeholders said Burnside was ‘neglected’, in a ‘poor state’ and ‘unfit for purpose’ with customers describing it as ‘damp and cold’ and ‘leaking water’.
One customer said the ‘building is not very nice but I like the staff and I have friends there’, adding ‘I would like the service to be in a better building’. Customers also said they valued Burnside and their friends there.
The report shows most people agreed with option two – to improve the building and develop Burnside services. However others said there was not enough information about alternative services mentioned in option three.
On Friday, representatives from West Sussex County Council met with around 30 customers and carers to work together to develop plans for the service.
A spokeswoman for the county council said the meeting was a ‘great opportunity to share the outcome of the consultation and talk about next steps’.
She added: “We‘re now focusing our efforts on exploring and developing potential alternatives.
“We want to enable customers and carers to be as involved as possible in this and they have agreed to trips to see what happens in other places.”