THE chairman of an Oswestry organisation that rents part of its premises to a day care centre has spoken out against Shropshire Council’s decision to close it down.
John Gareth Jones is an Oswestry councillor and chairman of the Lorne Street Senior Citizens’ Club which rents part of its premises to Shropshire Council for Lorne Street Day Care Centre.
Speaking of the closure decision, Cllr Jones said: “They did not tell us about it, I think it is terrible, even the staff didn’t know.
“I feel sorry for all the young people who use it. They go in on a regular basis and can talk to people in their own personal way.”
Lorne Street is being closed by Shropshire Council in December 2014 as part of a shake-up of services across the county. The other centre closing down in Oswestry is Avalon.
Cllr Jones is unhappy that Shropshire Council decided which centres in the county should close, adding: “It takes away the choice of the council. How can one person from one part of Shropshire make a decision for people who are somewhere else?
“The Senior Citizens’ Club gets on well with the staff at Lorne Street, it will be a shame,” he added.
The councillor is very supportive of the services available in the Oswestry area, particularly Maesbury Metals, a Shropshire Council-run workshop service which allows disadvantaged individuals to work.
A member of the workshop wrote a letter sharing fears of fellow group members in response to Shropshire Council’s decision. He wrote: “The council officials don’t care about us or what happens to us, that is obvious.
“We want to get Chris Schofield (Mr Mayor), Keith Barrow and Owen Paterson here, as we are frightened.
“We want to speak to the council face to face,” it went on.
Cllr Jones added: “It is wrong that they are worried.
“My nephew has gone to Maesbury Metals since he was 17. He gets ready and takes his lunch box and puts money in his pocket, and I think it makes him feel important in his own mind because he is doing something for other people.
“It is also respite for parents of these people who have to look after them,” he added.
A spokesperson for Shropshire Council said: “A new facility will be created in Oswestry to replace Lorne Street and Avalon day centres, which will not close until the new facility is ready. No decisions have yet been made about the location of the new facility, which will provide more comfortable and appropriate accommodation, but options include the possibility of using the former Willow Street medical centre building.”