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More mental health day centres to be cut (Against cuts) | 07.07.2010 10:24

Notts County Council are planning to close three day centres for mental health service users. The Middle Street centre in Beeston, Rokerfield Centre in Sutton and Boundary Centre in Worksop could be closed. This is another kick in the teeth for some of the most excluded people in society who the council clearly think they can neglect with impunity.

Day centres try to offer safe and sociable spaces for those with mental health issues who find it hard to integrate into mainstream society. There are often a range of activities and learning opportunities available to service users which can help them build their confidence and make friends. Some centres, such as the day centre at the QMC, have already been closed in recent years. For people who often have difficulty finding supportive environments these closures are bound to cause distress.

The council says that the closures are necessary to fund a new national initiative to give people with mental health needs personal budgets. This looks like a classic Tory scheme to individualise and isolate people. Just where mental health users are supposed to spend their personal budgets and get the services they have been used to is anyone's guess. Councillor Kevin Rostance said that "The proposals also aim to make all mental health services in Notts equitable" which is true, I suppose - it will make all service users equally miserable.

This another example of how the new era of cuts in public spending is impacting most on those already excluded and marginalised - not on those who can afford to adjust. The proposed 'solution' of personal budgets shows that the authorities are only interested in paying people off and leaving them to fend for themselves. We need a social movement to bring people together and resist the penalisation of the poor for the outrages of the wealthy. (Against cuts)