Petition to save much-loved Hastings day centre signed by hundreds

Cllrs James Bacon, Dany Louise, Peter Chowney and Trevor Webb SUS-180731-173402001
Cllrs James Bacon, Dany Louise, Peter Chowney and Trevor Webb SUS-180731-173402001

Campaigners are urging people to sign a petition in protest at the county council’s proposed closure of the Isabel Blackman Centre (IBC).

The Old Hastings Team and East Branch of the Labour Party will be holding a Day of Action on Saturday (August 4) in Butlers Gap in the Old Town.

An online petition has already been signed by more than 200 people.

Saturday’s event will give residents the chance to sign a hard copy of the petition.

See also:

Closure confirmed for day centres for elderly and disabled in Hastings and Bexhill

Fears Bexhill and Hastings centres ‘could close’ as ESCC considers making cuts

Cllr Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council, said: “The centre is used by some of the most vulnerable older people in Hastings, its closure would be devastating for them. I appreciate that the county council has suffered badly from massive cuts in their funding from the Government, but these cuts seem to be falling disproportionately on Hastings, the most deprived part of the county.”

Labour county councillor, Tania Charman, said: “Older people at IBC don’t want to move again and again from service to service as they close. This service belongs in the Old Town with its wonderful offer of culture and events which makes the activity program very special. The county council can’t replace this if it moves people and the activities quality will be lost forever.”

Cllr James Bacon, who represents Old Hastings ward, said: “The closure would not only be a huge loss to the Old Town and the borough of Hastings but most importantly a loss to so many vulnerable and elderly service users and their families. This petition is standing up for those being affected by these unfair cuts.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “The decision was taken by Cabinet to close services delivered through the Isabel Blackman Centre and Charter Centre in Bexhill, and recommission them within the independent sector.

“Recommissioning the services will save the council £188,438 due to the low occupancy rate and high costs of the two centres, but continue to provide support for older people. Various options for re-commissioning the day services are being considered, and neither centre will close until alternative provision is in place.

“Cuts in funding from central government, an increase in demand and rising costs, mean the county council has had to make savings of more than £110m since the start of the decade. In 2018-19 we need to find a further £17m of savings, nearly £10m of which must come from the adult social care budget. To ensure we can continue to deliver our statutory duty and support the most vulnerable, we are having to review the way we deliver all council services.”

Anyone wanting to sign the petition online should click here.