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Centre for disabled people set to be axed as part of local government cuts in Brent

An adult day centre for disabled residents is set to be axed as part of a North London council’s need to make £8m worth of cuts over the next year.

Brent Council leader warned that ‘horrific choices’ would have to be made to balance the budget and protect the most vulnerable residents

Next month, Brent Council will deliver their final budget proposal for the coming year against the backdrop of a ‘perfect storm’ of high inflation, a growing demand for services and reduced government funding. To plug the £8m shortfall, the council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) in November that the most visible cuts will likely be to Adult Day Care services.

The council are now consulting with residents on plans to axe the New Millennium Day Centre in Willesden – a council-run centre that provides facilities for adults with physical and learning difficulties – which it claims will save around £500,000.

Council leader, Cllr Muhammed Butt, said: “We just don’t have any low hanging fruit, that’s long gone. Now it truly is going to impact how we deliver services. We have had to make some of the most horrific choices in order to protect the most vulnerable.”

New Millennium Day Centre offers a range of services to attendees, with the aim of providing them with new skills designed to improve their level of independence. These include art classes, social skills building, IT classes, and cooking.

The latest plans would see the closure of the day centre and offering people that currently attend an alternative place, either at Brent Council’s other remaining in-house service at John Billam Resources Centre in Kenton, or by providing them with the funds to buy their day support from an external provider.

Documents published by the council describe the closure is part of its plan to develop a ‘more dynamic day support offer’. It suggests the move will consolidate the services in the borough enabling it to provide more opportunities to users, which includes offering more sessions to areas where they are lacking – particularly for older people.

Brent Council claims the new model will ‘deliver better outcomes for people’ as well as making cost savings through increasing the number of people in employment and reducing the need for day services, as well as building and staff costs.

A consultation on the plan is on-going, with residents asked to provide feedback on the proposals. If it does go ahead, confirmation is expected to happen by March, with the closure of the centre set to take place in December.