On Thursday 29th January I went to meet with carers who have family who use the Brookdale Resource Centre. They shared their experiences of using the centre and told me how being able to use the centre not only gives them respite but also in many circumstances allows carers the ability to have a job and earn an income.
June Brown, whose father is Albert Hooley (91) who uses the centre five days a week, so that she can go to work told me “Brookdale Resource Centre is the only centre in Southport and North Sefton which can accept and is equipped to help people with advanced dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s vital the centre remains open to give good quality care to patients but just as important, much needed respite for family”
As someone whose father showed many signs of dementia I was able to empathise with their experiences and could see how passionate they are to save the centre. Dementia, is one of those issues which we try not to think about but could affect any of us and if and when that happens we need to ensure that the best possible services are in place. I could tell from talking to carers that they and their family members have a great rapport with the staff at Brookdale. Brookdale Resource Centre is currently the only dementia specialist day care centre in the North of the Borough.
As a result of my visit, I contacted Paul Cummins who is the Cabinet Member responsible for the current consultation on Brookdale. He informed me that in Southport there are 495 day care centre places and the council are wishing to increase these to 600. The facts are that at this point in time nothing has been decided but he has assured me that as someone whose mother had dementia and as the person responsible for setting up the Alzheimer’s Society on Merseyside that dementia is one of his top priorities.
I have been assured by Paul that this is a genuine consultation and that all views received will be read and properly considered. I informed Paul that my view is that this is an extremely important day care centre, which carers have the utmost trust in and that I am opposed to any closure of this centre.
I also requested that Paul meet with myself and family of those who use the centre to discuss the situation and to explain that the centre is only part of a consultation at this point and has not been earmarked for closure.