Day care costs to be doubled

Ken Kinnaird with his daughter Fiona Huyton at home in Chorley
Ken Kinnaird with his daughter Fiona Huyton at home in Chorley

The cost for pensioners to attend a Chorley respite centre is set to double to £60 a week.

Lancashire County Council increased the charges for people to visit Fosterfield Day Centre on Eaves Lane in June.

It increased from £5 to around £30 for some people, and it has now been announced costs will rise to £60 from April next year.

Fiona Huyton, 51, from Eaves Green, cares for her 85-year-old dad Ken Kinnaird, and says his weekly trips to the centre are under threat with the changes.

She said: “I was livid last time the charges went up, but there was nothing I could do about it.

“Now they’re saying the costs are being doubled to £60 a week, and that’s just a ridiculous amount to pay.

“My dad has been visiting Fosterfield for around five years now, but he’ll have to stop going if the prices go up again.”

LCC withdrew subsidies for the cost of care for adults who live at home on June 6, and Fosterfield’s attendance has since fallen by 24.2 per cent.

Around 1,127 people used to visit each month, but only 854 go there now.

LCC said the fall in attendance reflects a number of factors, including service users with personal budgets opting to use their funds to access facilities in their local communities.

But Fiona says the centre is a huge benefit for people who don’t just have mental issues, and is a great relief for carers too.

She said: “My dad has mobility problems, so he doesn’t get out very much, but he’s a very sociable and jolly person.

“He goes to Fosterfield every Tuesday and he loves it. He just enjoys chatting to people his own age, and getting out of the house.”

Ken lives in Fiona’s converted garage, and relies on a walking stick and wheelchair.

“I can’t push him very far in his chair,” Fiona said. “So he really enjoys getting out once a week.

“His day at Fosterfield also gives me a day off from caring for him, and my mind is at rest knowing he’s in good hands.”

She added: “People can suffer from depression if they don’t have that sort of contact with people.

“It’s not easy for those of a certain age to go out and meet new friends, and they can get very lonely.

“Fosterfield is a fantastic place which provides company for people, and I think it’s such a shame that some won’t be able to go anymore.”

County Councillor Mike Calvert, cabinet member for adult and community services at LCC, said: “The changes mean that people with savings of more than £23,250, or those who do not want to tell the council how much they have in savings, are asked to meet the full cost of their services.

“We agreed to ease in the new arrangements over a period of two years, so people are paying no more than an extra £30 per week for this financial year, and will pay no more than £60 per week from April 2012.

“These charges will be reviewed after two years.”

- Are you affected? Contact Kay Taylor on 01257 264911.