BETTER quality services for older people with social needs are promised as work on Fairwater Day Centre begins.
The site, on Plasmawr Road, Fairwater, will be refurnished and redecorated. Bathroom facilities will also be improved.
Councillor Susan Elsmore, cabinet member for social care, health and wellbeing, said: “Work is underway to enhance the internal environment, improve the quality of accommodation for people using the centre and, more importantly, meet contemporary care standards.
“The new facility will provide specialist care for those affected by dementia, as well as crucially providing a respite service for carers.”
This work is based on a Day Opportunities strategy, published by the Cardiff Council in 2015, which also proposed investment in Llanrumney and Grand Avenue, day centres.
Coun Elsmore said the project would see the council “redesign day services for older people to focus resources on meeting the needs and aspirations of those with social care requirements”.
In last year’s budget, the council made a specific pledge to the centres in Ely and Fairwater, committing £1 million to comprehensively redevelop them.
Coun Elsmore continued: “The refurbishment of Minehead Road day centre in Llanrumney was completed in 2017, while Grand Avenue, Ely, was recently redeveloped to establish a new Integrated Dementia Day Service, working in partnership with health.
“Work (in Fairwater) is expected to be completed in the spring.”
Fairwater independent councillor Neil McEvoy, said: “Of course I welcome the money, but it’s too little too late.
“It’s death by a thousand cuts. Over many years Cardiff council have taken money out of important services.
“Pensioners used to love going to Fairwater Day Centre, but the council cut it so severely that less people became entitled to its services. They even started rationing Welsh cakes, because they said they couldn’t afford enough for everyone who goes there.”
Day centres help to combat loneliness, as they provide an opportunity for those with care needs to socialise.
While Cardiff Council says the latest investment will enable day centres to provide better quality services, Coun McEvoy argues that the damage has already been done.
“I know many people who were very upset because the day centre could not help them. The reality is that social care is not a priority for Labour.”
Coun McEvoy’s comments refer to Cardiff Council’s 2015 proposal to close four day centres, including the three featured in this report, to save £800,000.
However, the closures did not happen following strong local opposition.
Michael Phillips, communications manager at Age Cymru, said: “Any measures that improve older people’s access to social activities such as this investment in the day centre are to be welcomed.”
Mr Phillips also said that much more needs to be done to improve services for older people in Cardiff.
“While this facility is a welcome addition to the city’s facilities, the local authority must also ensure that local older people are able to get to the centre, feel comfortable accessing the building and that meaningful and relevant activities are available for the visitors.”