Day centre users speak of Devon County Council’s ‘betrayal’

14:33 25 June 2014

Catherine Yates and Shana Little outside the Oasis Day Care Centre. Pic: Ben Stupples.

Catherine Yates and Shana Little outside the Oasis Day Care Centre. Pic: Ben Stupples.

Archant

Users of Oasis Day Centre describe it as a ‘lifeline’

"Oasis is a happy family"

Shana Little

USERS of Barnstaple’s Oasis Day Centre faced with the prospect of its possible closure have expressed their anger and frustration towards Devon County Council.

Catherine Yates, 42, and Shana Little, 44, both of whom cope with physical disabilities, described the day centre as a ‘lifeline’ and outlined the apparent ‘betrayal’ of councillor Stuart Barker, cabinet member for adult social care.

Catherine, who has a permeated spine and is often forced to walk with a crutch to maintain her balance, said: “All along, Stuart Barker always said that, if we wanted to stay as a group, Devon County Council will keep you as a group.”

But now, following the council’s recent decision to close 20 state-run care homes and 17 day care centres across Devon, the future of Oasis Day Centre remains in doubt.

The Oasis Day Care Centre in Barnstaple. Pic: Ben Stupples.The Oasis Day Care Centre in Barnstaple. Pic: Ben Stupples.

For more than a decade, three times a week, Oasis Day Centre has provided social activity for young disabled people—with activities varying from painting to knitting.

“Oasis is a happy family,” said Shana, who has been wheelchair-bound for several years due to a neurological condition.

“It’s a happy family because we’ve got high amounts of stress in our own families and before this we didn’t really have a life.”

Catherine added: “Oasis has given us purpose in life - I didn’t know where I should be before.”

"For it to be closed down will affect a lot of people’s mental health"

Catherine Yates

Since 2011, when Catherine and Shana first discovered Oasis, which is open from Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm, both of them have used it twice a week.

Both of them, by chance, are also mothers to autistic children, the common ground on which Catherine and Shana originally became friends after meeting through Oasis.

“We need respite from home because it’s really stressful,” said Shana, who, besides being caring for her now-adolescent daughter, used to work as a healthcare assistant at Oakhampton Community Hospital.

“It’s really hard work with autistic children.”

Catherine, who is a mother of four, added: “For it to be closed down will affect a lot of people’s mental health—not just those that attend Oasis, but also the families that need that time to have a breather, and for us to feel like normal humans.”

Before she discovered Oasis, Shana, originally from West Devon, spent five-and-a-half years at home, where she struggled to adapt to her disability and battled with depression.

In search of a ‘better quality of life,’ she then moved to North Devon—only to have ‘a small taste of it’ before the council jeopardised Oasis’s future.

Without Oasis Day Centre, which the council has relocated from Alexandra Road to Rosebank Day Centre’s dining room—despite spending public funds on new disabled toilets in the old premises—Catherine openly worries about ‘a future of isolation.’

“I was housebound for pretty much two years,” she said.

“I was quite introverted when I first came here, and I was very dubious of everything. But, through Oasis, I’ve learned to cope better with what I’ve got and how to handle things.”

Shana, meanwhile, who says she has learnt a host of ‘new crafts and abilities’ since she first started attending Oasis, frets about her own life becoming ‘stagnant’ again.

In total, while the future of Oasis Day Care centre still remains unclear, five day centres—Beech House in South Molton; Burrow House in Ilfracombe; Springfield and Quayside in Bideford; and a hub at the Plough in Torrington—are set to close.

At a site yet to be decided, Oakwell, Silverhill, Rosebank, Tarka and Barnstaple’s Greenfields day centres will all be retained as part of a new ‘integrated service.’

Refuting Catherine and Shana’s claim that their close-knit group will not be kept together in the future, a Devon County Council spokesman said: “Users of the day service at the Oasis will continue to receive support during the day, as a group.

“The council is allocating the group a facilitator to work with them and to see what they want to do during the day, and to help them organise what support they need

Related articles

1 comment

  • The article about Oasis does not represent the decision that was made. The 'family' group will not be broken up nor will they lose the opportunity to use the new integrated centre in Barnstaple when a decision is made about where the new centre should be located. I visited Oasis before making any decisions and was impressed by their commitment to each other and their desire to do things together. During our conversation it was evident that they wanted to do more things as a group, we talked about their inability to go swimming for various reasons. The decision increases the support they will have available to them, not decrease their service. The appointment of a facilitator will enable the group to take their own decisions about other activities they want to do and be supported to make things happen. If they want to go swimming then the facilitator will work to make it happen. If they want to go out on a day trip or do anything else then the facilitator will help them. It is about people being able to take their own decisions about the community life choices they want and then help them to achieve those choices using their personal budgets. Stuart Barker

    Report this comment

    Stuart Barker

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 19:45
Somersault Festival 2015.

Around 17,000 people flocked to Castle Hill Estate this weekend to party through the rain and sunshine at Somersault Festival.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:55

Police appeal after break in at Barnstaple home on Friday evening.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:20
Bideford Water Festival 2015. Pictures: Graham Hobbs

Bungee jumpers lept from 175ft platform above the River Torridge as part of Bideford Water Festival yesterday (Sunday).

Read more
Yesterday, 09:35
The North Devon Link Road.

Caravan towing could be ‘difficult’ for towing vehicles and outdoor activities disrupted due to strong winds today (Monday).

Read more
Yesterday, 07:24
Scratch is back with his owner Cheryl Mundy

Scratch is returned to his relieved Chittlehampton owner after being found seven miles away thanks to his microchip

Read more
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Scenes from the visit of cruise liner MS Prinsendam to Ilfracombe.

Cruise ship passengers surprised and interested by Damien Hirst’s Verity when the MS Prinsendam called in at Ilfracombe today (Sunday)...

Read more
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Fair Queen Chulmleigh Academy pupil Daisy Parsons, pictured with attendants Morgan Robinson and Katie Elder, and crown bearer Gracie McKinnon-Jones. Picture: Submitted

Town’s 762nd fair will be extended by a day to take in busy programme of events.

Read more
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Barnstaple carnival queen Jasmin Husband is pictured with princesses Donna Barton and Tilly-Lee Brown, carnival committee chairman Andy Shiner and deputy mayor Julie Hunt. Picture: Submitted

Park School teenager lands special role at head of procession.

Read more
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Taking the plunge at Bideford Water Festival. Picture by Graham Hobbs

Watch displays on the river and catch the thrill of brave bungee jumpers on Bideford Quay tomorrow (Sunday).

Read more
Saturday, July 25, 2015
The MS Prinsendam off Ilfracombe in 2011

MS Prinsendam is on course, with fingers crossed for the weather

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 13°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition today E-edition



North Devon's trusted business finder