Agenda item

Public Open Forum


The recording of the meeting is publicly available and provides the individual views expressed by the public at the meeting. In addition, a detailed report would be prepared following the scrutiny meeting to provide a full account of the substantial public contributions to the meeting, to be tabled to Council on 19th January 2023,  Report of the Chair of People Scrutiny Committee Call-in of Tudor Day Centre Decision.pdf ( . The following are views expressed by members of the public. The minutes cannot comment on the accuracy of any of the statements, which have been summarised under headings for reference.


What People suggested Tudor Street Day Centre offered them


  • People stated that Tudor Street Day Centre offered a central, safe, warm environment for vulnerable people with learning disabilities to socialise with friends and undertake a range of activities.  People spoke of how Tudor Street Day Centre meant much more than a physical building to them – it acted as a hub, a place to go to for people from all walks of life to build their confidence, to learn life skills and to achieve qualifications.  Members heard that the Tudor Street Day Centre was felt to be a place where lasting meaningful friendships were formed between service users and the wider community, who attended their fundraising events.  It also provided respite for carers from 24/7 caring responsibilities.


  • People told the scrutiny committee that the central location of Tudor Street Day Centre in Abergavenny town was easily accessible to them and that it had the appropriate facilities, such as a changing bed and disabled toilet facilities that suited many people with learning disabilities, but not those with profound complex needs. Some people told the committee that their relatives couldn’t use the centre because it didn’t cater for the needs of people with severe disabilities, particularly those who needed hydrotherapy, tracking hoists and sensory spaces, which are provided in purpose-built facilities, such as the facility located in Cwmbran.


  • People spoke about how ‘My Day My Life’, whilst operating at the Tudor Street Day Centre prior to the pandemic had enabled people to make personal plans and choose what activities they would like to do within their day.  People highlighted the importance to them of having the choice of day services and/or being in the community, explaining that community-based activities alone didn’t support the building of friendships in the same way. They advised they simply wanted to see their friends in a safe, warm environment that had the appropriate facilities for their needs. 


How People reported feeling about the Day Centre’s closure


  • Some people commented on how they felt they had lost the opportunity to participate in activities they previously undertook, in which they were able to gain valuable life skills and qualifications due to the closure of the centre.  A carer told members that activities in the community provided little stimulation for people with learning disabilities and that the closure of the centre had negatively affected their own mental health.  One person explained how since the closure, they rarely met with friends, unless there was a My Mates function, which take place infrequently. Some people reported that the closure of the centre had increased their isolation and loneliness. 


  • One of the reasons explained to the scrutiny committee as to why people with severe disabilities struggle to access activities based in the community are that the toilet facilities in cafes and shops are inappropriate.  It was suggested that greater thought needed to be given to people’s needs. 


  • One person suggested that Mardy Park (as an alternative centre) provided a different service offer and was difficult to access.  People told members that the permanent closure of Tudor Street Day Centre would “significantly negatively affect service users, carers and support staff”.


What the contributors to the Public Open Forum advised service users need


  • A person suggested that there was a lack of day centre provision in the north of the county and that the Council needed to give greater thought to its decision and to consider how services could be improved, involving service users in shaping the offer.  A person suggested the decision had been based upon cost and that it shouldn’t have been taken ahead of the conclusion of an overall review of services. They highlighted that the consultation process had provided no detail as to what alternative provision may be offered in place of what was being withdrawn. 


  • Whilst the remit of Tudor Street Day Centre was not to provide services for people suffering mental health issues and people weren’t being signposted to the centre for mental health support, one person suggested that the centre was attended by people suffering mental health issues, as well as people with learning disabilities and that attending the centre helped to reduce their isolation and build their confidence. 


  • People spoke of the need for dedicated facilities and a central base that could be extended to the wider community, to provide an opportunity for people to come together, share experiences, learn and make friendships.


  • In terms of people with learning disabilities being able to pay for personal assistants and carers instead of accessing day services, a person highlighted that personal budgets were intended to give people choice, not to replace services. Some people felt that the closure of Tudor Street Day Centre was the withdrawal of a service, despite the continuation of the ‘My Day My Life’ model in a different way. One person explained how people who need one to one support are unable to access many of the ‘My Mates’ activities, that tended to include trips to restaurants, the cinema or pop concerts. It was suggested that these are too expensive for most people to attend on a regular basis and tend to be mainly in the evening, which wouldn’t suit some people. 


  • Another member of the public spoke of the lack of community-based opportunities in Monmouthshire, particularly in Abergavenny, for people with very complex needs, who cannot be accommodated at cafes or places in the community.  One person confirmed that for people with profound complex needs, Tudor Street Day Centre wasn’t suitable and highlighted the lack of in-county respite provision for people with complex needs.  People spoke about the need for support for young people leaving special education needs and transitioning into the adult world, which is a particularly difficult transition. 


Wider issues raised by the public


  • There was a suggestion that the decision prioritised the needs of one vulnerable group of people (homeless people) over the needs of another (people with learning disabilities). It was suggested that the intention to progress the planning application to avoid legislative changes relating to flooding was not in line with the philosophy of the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015, nor its aim to ‘involve people in decision-making as equal partners’. There was a suggestion that there was a need for online engagement about the decision.


  • Concerns were raised about the consultation process and whether the letter to service users as part of the official consultation process was written in the spirit of the Equalities Act 2010 with regard to accessibility. It was suggested that there was a lack of online engagement about the decision, working against the sense of open and transparent dialogue.


The chair thanked the public for their participation, advising that the public contributions had been welcomed and appreciated by the committee.  She advised that the Committee would begin debating the matter.