Relatives take Oakwell petition to County Hall

Devon County Council Leader John Hart (centre) is presented with the Oakwell day centre petition by carers John Wilson, Maureen Beachamp, Rita Price and Pamela Jewitt plus Fremington county councillor Frank Biederman. Devon County Council Leader John Hart (centre) is presented with the Oakwell day centre petition by carers John Wilson, Maureen Beachamp, Rita Price and Pamela Jewitt plus Fremington county councillor Frank Biederman.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
12:26 PM

Carers present 2,500 signature petition against the proposed closure of Bickington day centre to Devon County Council leader.

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CARERS with relatives who use Oakwell day centre have marched on County Hall with a 2,500 signature petition protesting against its closure.

The group, joined by Fremington County Councillor Frank Biederman, presented their petition to county Council Leader John Hart on Wednesday.

Oakwell at Bickington is being proposed for closure along with 10 other day centres for the elderly in North Devon, as well as the county run residential homes.

A consultation on the future of day centres closed on Wednesday, while the consultation on the homes ends today (Wednesday).

Pamela Jewitt, whose 93-year-old mother Queenie suffers from dementia and lives at Oakwell as well as using the day centre, said they had been well received when they presented their petition in Exeter.

“We talked to John Hart and he certainly listened to us and we were able to present our case,” she said.

“He was not able to give us anything definite but said it would not be rushed. We realise the difficulties for them as well and they have to save money because they are going to receive less. He said there would be even less money across the board to pay for care.”

Frank Biederman, said John Hart reassured them no one would be pushed out until alternative care was available, but he said: “I still got the impression they want to push on with this, as it is about their overall plan to commission everything off and get people onto the minimum wage.

“I believe there is nothing that comes close to what Oakwell offers dementia sufferers in North Devon and everything possible should be done to save it. We raised the fact that we felt, of the 14 homes listed for respite care if Oakwell did close, most were not suitable for dementia sufferers, one even when approached came back and suggested Oakwell was the best place for a dementia sufferer ... says it all really.”

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