Southwark Liberal Democrats have welcomed today’s news that a crucial day centre for vulnerable adults in Bermondsey could remain open after the Labour run Council dramatically reversed its disastrous decision to close the key service.
The proposal, currently being considered by The Camden Society, could see the centre stay open for at least another 10 years. This is subject to a final agreement which is to be settled over the coming weeks.
Despite the positive news, decision making surrounding the Riverside Day Centre, which was previously promoted as a ‘development site' by the Labour administration at a developer meet and greet last November, is still raising serious concerns amongst users and The Camden Society. Key decisions have been marred by secrecy with meetings taking place behind closed doors and a public meeting, requested by The Camden Society, being refused by the Council due to election purdah rulings.
After a hard-fought campaign to keep the day centre open by service users, their families and Liberal Democrat Councillors alongside The Camden Society, centre users will be delighted to hear the news that Labour run Southwark Council has revoked its decision to close the centre. However the fight does not end here with users at another day centre, Queens Road Day Centre, still unsure whether their vital service will be closed down. A decision on a proposed conversion of the day centre into offices will not be taken before the completion of an Equalities Impact Assessment due for release soon.
Councillor Anood Al-Samerai, Leader of the Southwark Liberal Democrats, said:
“This has been a long, drawn out battle for vulnerable adults who use the services at the Riverside Day Centre. The whole process leading up to this dramatic u-turn has been an absolute farce with a severe lack of communication between the Labour administration and The Camden Society. Even Labour admitted that communication could have been better."
“We are delighted that the Riverside Day Centre has been offered this reprieve however the fight doesn’t end here. Southwark Liberal Democrats will continue to contest the decision to close another critical day centre at Queens Road and for a more open and transparent process to decision making regarding the Riverside Day Centre.”