"The centre is like an extended family to him"
About: George Steven Centre George Steven Centre Kilbirnie KA25 6LJ
Posted by Avieisle (as ),
Our son attends the George Steven Centre. This purpose-built centre is located in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire. The Centre is owned and managed by the Salvation Army.
The centre supports adults with learning difficulties to achieve their goals in life and to be included and respected within their communities. Our son attends 5 days per week and has done so since he left school 15 years ago. He loves going there. He has a varied, interesting, personal programme which is produced following consultation with himself and his key worker. This year this includes gardening; exercise programmes; memory activities; ten pin bowling; sound, rhythm and music classes; new age curling; chair exercises; games and team quizzes. His community activity is ten pin bowling. We as parents/carers are actively encouraged to give our input to ensure that the centre provides the most appropriate programme for our son. The programme is reviewed regularly and where necessary changes are made, following consultation with all involved. This year he has achieved two ASDAN awards. His programme enables him to realise his potential, improve his skills and improve his confidence. The centre is like an extended family to him. Attached to the Centre is the Blend in Café. This opened to the public over 10 years ago and is an integral part of the George Steven Centre. Several of the service users work within the café receiving training to give them the skills necessary to work within a café environment. Two nights per week, through choice, our son returns to the centre in the evening to participate in the Halo Programme. Again he thoroughly enjoys this. The purpose of the Halo programme is to allow the members to experience a broad range of general education which helps enhance and improve learning and achievement. He has worked on literacy and numeracy activities; healthy eating; safety and hygiene; safety in the home to name but a few. The group have even been guests on a live radio show, 3TFM. We could go on and on about what happens in the George Steven Centre, things like the charity fundraising the service users become involved in, raising money for Prostate Cancer; or the trips and outings that they go on throughout the year, but the point we are trying to get over, by giving the above information, is that the George Steven Centre provides an excellent service within the Garnock Valley. There is no other centre for adults with learning difficulties within the Garnock Valley.
We have regular Inclusion Meetings at the centre to which parents and carers are invited to attend. A representative from North Ayrshire Council attends on occasion. Information is shared and questions answered. Given the centre is so good we cannot understand the following: -
1. The centre is registered to take 30 full time equivalent (FTE) places for adults with learning difficulties but due to block funding it is capped at 20 (FTE) places. Why is this? Why are other adults with learning difficulties, within the Garnock Valley, potentially being deprived of a place at the George Steven Centre?
2. The George Steven Centre (GSC) received around £78.50 per head per day (as quoted by NAC on 26/9/14) from North Ayrshire Council. We were also told by NAC that at that time the NAC centre at Fergushill cost around £111 per head per day. At our last Inclusion Meeting on 26/6/15 we were told that the GSC has been cut further to £59 per head per day. The Salvation Army requires to invest heavily in the centre to make up the shortfall to ensure a high quality service continues to be provided. Two questions? Why does the George Steven Centre get so much less money than an equivalent centre owned by North Ayrshire Council? Given the George Steven Centre is by far the cheapest option, why are they not having additional service users referred to the centre rather than having the number capped? To us it just simply doesn't make sense. Explanations would be appreciated.