County council staff quizzed over future of services

Dorset Echo: SPEAKER: Coun Jill Haynes addresses the public meeting in Bridport SPEAKER: Coun Jill Haynes addresses the public meeting in Bridport

A DORSET County Council team planning the future of adult social care faced tough questions from local people.

At a public meeting to launch a consultation period on options for future services and facilities in Bridport, an audience of more than 50 people demanded answers.

Future availability of beds for people with advanced dementia and why proceeds from the sale of county assets would not all go towards local services were top of the list.

The council is encouraging the public to get involved and help shape the plans for a £4.7m investment in local services, including day services, care for older people and support for people to stay healthy and independent in the community for as long as possible. The options, which would see the county selling off many of its buildings, include a new purpose-built community hub for day services, and the possible replacement of the services provided by the local authority-run Sidney Gale care home.

Coun Jill Haynes, Cabinet member for adult social care, told the audience at the town hall on Monday that Dorset County Council had a lot of properties in the town.

“But not all of them are in the prime of life any more,” she added. “Many are old and not really fit for purpose.

“We want the community to take part in this and to take ownership. After all, this is where you and I are probably going to end up.

“We have a commitment to make something really good here.”

Head of Commissioning Alison Waller said that the biggest demand in the next 20 to 30 years would be very, very frail elderly people with a significant requirement for dementia support.

Maureen Jackson, chairman of the Bridport Local Area Partnership (BLAP) told the county representatives that without “joined up” thinking between all local authorities and local plans, the plans would be “hellbent for disaster”.

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