Ability Centre needs new members

The Scottish Borders only centre for people with physical disabilities needs new members, or faces an uncertain future.

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"Compromise reached" on Ability Centre

Scottish Borders Council hope that a decision to redesign the Ability Centre will encourage more members.

The service is now open to anyone with a physical disability.

It comes after a campaign by service users, to include those with disabilities that require specialist staff and transport.

The Social Work Department initially proposed a redesign of the Ability Centre as the existing service was not being fully utilised and it was agreed that support for people with physical disabilites should be more widely available across the Borders. A report went to the Social work and Housing Committee in January, however, prior to reaching a decision members of the Committee were keen to visit the centre and meet with users to hear their views.

Since January there have been numerous meetings and officers have listened and taken on board the concerns raised by people using the centre and the management committee. I am delighted that a compromise proposal has been agreed which will continue to provide a day service at the centre for two days a week for people in the central Borders area, a social centre one day a week yet also enables us to extend an outreach service across the Borders three days a week.

– Elaine Torrance, Head of Social Care and Health, Scottish Borders Council


New members needed to safeguard disability service

Management and service users of the only centre for people with a physical disability in the Borders say they need more members to safeguard it for the future.

Scottish Borders Council had planned to turn the Ability Centre in Galashiels into a social centre.

Those with certain physical disabilities would have received home visits instead.

Service users successfully campaigned for a compromise, which means the service will now open to all users for 2 days a week, and will run as a social centre once a week, with regular home visits.

But they say they need more members in order for it to remain a success.

The new arrangements will be reviewed in 18 months.

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