Decision to close Burgess Hill disability centre ‘should be called off’

Robert Eggleston, Mid Sussex Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC)
Robert Eggleston, Mid Sussex Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC)

A Mid Sussex Lib Dem parliamentary candidate said the decision to close a Burgess Hill disability centre ‘should be called off’ until all other avenues have been explored.

Robert Eggleston, Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC), is appealing for a rethink on the closure plan.

Ernest Kleinwort Court in Burgess Hill. Picture: The Disabilities Trust

Ernest Kleinwort Court in Burgess Hill. Picture: The Disabilities Trust

It was announced on Tuesday (July 24), that Ernest Kleinwort Court in Oakenfield is to close this October.

The centre forms part of the nationwide network of support services provided by The Disabilities Trust.

Mr Eggleston said: “The news that Ernest Kleinwort Court in Burgess Hill is to close at the end of October is devastating news for the residents who live there, the staff who may be losing their jobs and for the wider Burgess Hill community.

“EKC is a valued part of the Sheddingdean Community. For many years I lived just around the corner, and I know some of its residents well.

“Many of them play an active role in the local community, some of them go to my local church and they all regard Burgess Hill very much as their home.

“Giving very vulnerable residents such short notice that they will torn from a community they know and love, to be dispersed to other centres away from Burgess Hill is highly regrettable.

“Whilst it is true that EKC has received poor reports from the Care Quality Commission and struggles with staff retention, the decision to close EKC without wider consultation is surprising to say the least.

“There is a crisis in the provision of social care which is hitting the public, charitable and private social care sectors, exacerbated by government spending cuts.

“However, I would like to think that the Disabilities Trust will agree to work with residents, staff, Burgess Hill community groups, local authorities and other organisations to find a way of keeping residents in their homes in Burgess Hill.

“This hasty action should be called off until all other avenues have been explored to save EKC.”

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