Care home closure is ‘crime against humanity’ says former Bideford mayor

Former Bideford Mayor and Mayoress Trevor and Hilary Johns say they will be devastated if Springfield Day Centre closes amid Devon County Council cuts. Former Bideford Mayor and Mayoress Trevor and Hilary Johns say they will be devastated if Springfield Day Centre closes amid Devon County Council cuts.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
8:55 AM

Former Mayor and Mayoress of Bideford join fight to save day care home they have been using for the past 22 years.

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The Springfield Day Centre in Bideford is among 11 centres for the elderly and disabled facing closure under proposals announced by Devon County Council.The Springfield Day Centre in Bideford is among 11 centres for the elderly and disabled facing closure under proposals announced by Devon County Council.

THE former mayor and mayoress of Bideford have said closing day care centres around North Devon and Torridge would be a ‘crime against humanity’.

Hilary Johns, wife of Bideford Town Councillor and former mayor Trevor Johns, has been visiting the Springfield Day Centre in Bideford for the past 22 years.

Mrs Johns, 66, suffers from anxiety and short term memory loss after being diagnosed with a brain cyst and said the centre has been her lifeline.

And Cllr Johns, 68, who is her full time carer, says taking away the day centre where he knows his wife is in safe hands will take away his only free time.

“Hilary can’t go out on her own, she suffers from stress and anxiety and the closure of this centre will be absolutely devastating to her,” said Cllr Johns.

“The two days she is there is the only time I have to myself because I am a full time carer for Hilary. It is putting the onus back on the carer.

“I would go as far as to say this is a crime against humanity. It is targeting the vulnerable.

“I know there are costs to cut but there are some things you cannot put a price on”

Mrs Johns, who cannot leave the house on her own, said going to the centre in the first place was a huge step for her due to her anxiety issues.

“When I first went I said a prayer about going there, and a voice told me not to be afraid and to talk to people – and I have never looked back since,” she said.

“I find it very difficult to speak to people. I

“I have made so many friends and I don’t know how I would see them if the centre was not there. I would be devastated.”

The couple, who previously ran a farm in Huntshaw, are hoping that all is not lost when it comes to the consultation, which ends on March 19 for day care centres and March 26 for residential homes.

“We would just everyone to take part in the consultation and try and save these vital services for the people who need them,” added Cllr Johns.

What do you think about the proposals to close day centres and transfer residential care to the private sector? Email newsdesk@northdevongazette.co.uk, telephone 01271 345656 or write to the editor at North Devon Gazette, Unit 3, Old Station Road, Barnstaple, EX32 8PB.

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