St Leonards day centre service to move to Bexhill

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A day centre for adults with learning disabilities is to close following a decision by county council bosses today (Thursday, June 9).

East Sussex County Council has given the go-ahead for a number of changes to services for adults with disabilities, one of which is to merge the Conquest Centre in Chichester Road, St Leonards, with Beeching Park in Bexhill.

The Conquest Centre building will no longer be used for learning disability services and could be sold off.

County council bosses said Beeching Park will become the main day service in Hastings and Rother and Working Wonders, which is next to the Conquest Centre, will focus on providing opportunities for skills development to help people gain voluntary or paid employment.

Many groups who use the Conquest Centre expressed concern about having to relocate, following a consultation by the county council, which ended in March.

County councillor Phil Scott, who represents Hollington & Wishing Tree ward, is also angry at the decision.

He said: “The people using the Conquest Centre have known each other for many years so friendship groups that have formed will be destroyed potentially. For Hastings where these services are much-needed it defies belief you would continue to take services out, rather than continue to invest in both infrastructure and people.”

In a report, which was presented at this morning’s meeting, Keith Hinkley, the county council’s director of adult social care and health, said the Conquest Centre building had ‘served day services well’ but was now ‘out of step’ with current provision.

He added: “A feasibility study has been undertaken to consider changes to the building layout but it is evident refurbishment would be cost prohibitive.

”Beeching Park is not operating to full capacity in terms of building space. A number of rooms are not used and could be opened up to provide more choice on the day service programme to a greater number of clients.”

The county council said the services provided at the Conquest Centre and at Beeching Park replicate each other despite being less than seven miles apart.

Mr Hinkley, in his report, added: “The proposals will deliver improvements to the services offered and significant revenue savings to the council, as well as releasing from use a large building that may be used for an alternative purpose or sold to achieve a capital receipt.”

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