Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Day care cut fears continue to grow

12:15 12 March 2014

Maureen Beauchamp, Margaret Fryer and Pamela Jewitt are among the many carers who fear for their relatives if Oakwell or its day centre closes.

Maureen Beauchamp, Margaret Fryer and Pamela Jewitt are among the many carers who fear for their relatives if Oakwell or its day centre closes.


Carers, clients, councillors and North Devon’s MP less than impressed after consultation events...

PLANS to cut day care services in North Devon have come under renewed fire following a series of consultation meetings.

The sessions for carers and stakeholders were closed to the press and public, as Devon County Council officers explained proposals to close the district’s 11 day centres for the elderly and disabled.

The council claims the same services can be commissioned via the private or voluntary sector, but many carers and clients have said the centres are a ‘lifeline’.

Consultation events were held at Petroc on Thursday, the Cedars, Bickington, on Friday and the Ilfracombe Centre on Monday.

A second proposal is also seeking to close the county run care homes in North Devon and this is running under a separate consultation.

Many of those who attended Friday’s event told the North Devon Gazette they feared it was already ‘a done deal’ and criticised the process.

Many of those who attended Friday’s event told the Gazette they feared it was already ‘a done deal’ and criticised the process, including North Devon MP Nick Harvey, who said: “They are just asking for trouble, I think, scaring everybody witless about closing services while having absolutely nothing firm about what might replace them.

“They talk rather vaguely about groups who might come in and run day care services and the buildings or premises they might use, but it’s all very, very speculative, there’s nothing firm about it.”

Fremington County Councillor Frank Biederman summed it up by saying: “This is the second time in three weeks that I am ashamed to be a councillor,” referring to an earlier decision to cut youth services.

“I’ve been to two consultations so far and we haven’t had any of the senior managers or councillors there who make the decisions – how on earth can they make decisions on peoples’ futures without hearing from them?”

Carer Jean Hill said no back up plan for alternative services had been suggested: “I don’t think it’s a proposal, I think it is something they intend to do – they are wasting a lot of public time and money holding a consultation process to which they don’t have any answers and I don’t think they are prepared to take our views into consideration.”

There was strong representation from carers whose relatives live at Oakwell nursing home and who use Oakwell Day Centre.

Dawn Benham, whose 83-year-old mother Brenda Smale is at the home, said the care there was second to none and she feared for her health if she had to be moved.

Pamela Jewitt, whose mother Queenie, 94, has been at Oakwell for three years, said the meetings were a benefit as they were able to get their views across, but questioned the council’s claim that people could use their Direct Payment to buy day care: “As far as people with dementia go, they haven’t got a choice,” she said.

“We didn’t really hear much from the providers and what we did hear didn’t seem appropriate for those with dementia.”

Rachel Holmes is a former manager of Oakwell, and said there was no alternative dementia care centre in Barnstaple, whether for day care or residential.

“I think it’s frightening the council is proposing alternatives which are not realistic or safe,” she said.

“Friday was meant to be for care providers from the private or voluntary sector, but when I looked around the room there was only a few there.

“All staff at Oakwell are trained and more importantly, they care. They give care and compassion and make sure people are fully engaged, whatever their dementia pathway.

“We are in the middle of a dementia crisis, this is not the time to be cutting services, we need more.”

* The consultation on Devon’s day centres closes on March 19 and the residential care consultation closes on March 26.

For more information visit

Related articles

1 comment

  • It's obviously more important to spend £500,000 on the Civic Centre (which is about to be vacated anyway) than on facilities for day care for the elderly and vulnerable...

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Other News Stories

11 minutes ago
Singer Ella Eyre is supporting the Dogs Trust campaign this Christmas

Dogs Trust reveals the shocking, lazy and farcical excuses used by people dumping their pets in the last 12 months

Read more
Traffic jam

Traffic is moving slowly through Barnstaple town centre this morning (Tuesday) following a crash at the TA centre roundabout between Eastern Avenue and Alexandra Road.

Read more
Bike Shed store manager Paul Belton and Smuggler organiser Marcus Chapman present the cheque to Emma Lowe of North Devon Hospice. Picture: Leo Cooper

Smuggler sportive organisers announce dates for next year’s pedal-pounding ride

Read more
Police will be testing motorists for drink driving over Christmas

Officers will be on patrol throughout December

Read more
Caroline Cree of Devon Air Ambulance Trust and Alex Bass of Vospers Mazda hand over the keys to car draw winner Tony White (centre). Picture: Submitted

Devon Air Ambulance Trust supporter Tony White of Combe Martin has picked up they keys to a brand new Mazda2.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:45
Lorraine Cleverdon and Chris Taylor from Highbullen Hotel (pictured with host Judi Spiers and Simon Crichton from sponsor Triodos Bank) pick up one of two awards on the night. Picture: Nick Williams

Gold, silver and bronze at glittering evening for local hotels, restaurants and attractions.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:52
An artist's impression of how the food and retail area at Anchorwood Bank will look

Developers have submitted a planning application for the food and retail area of the Anchorwood Bank development.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:25

Open evening at Appledore Fire Station on Thursday, December 3.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:21
Torridge MP Geoffrey Cox is joined by pupils from Holsworthy Community College and Shebbear College as he presents the first stage of his Parliamentary Petition on rural roads to 10 Downing Sreet. Picture: Submitted

Government urged to do more to improve the condition of rural roads

Read more
Yesterday, 10:11
Crowds will gather for the Bideford light switch on this Sunday

Don’t miss the big switch on this Sunday on the quay

Read more

Christmas in North Devon

Christmas in North Devon

Christmas Magazine

Click here for your ultimate guide to
Christmas in North Devon

Local Weather



max temp: 12°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Search for a job in Devon

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications