Hailsham’s day care centre for the elderly is to close

Orion Centre Hailsham
Orion Centre Hailsham

Plans to close a Hailsham day care centre for the elderly as part of a cost-cutting exercise have been approved by East Sussex County councillors.

The Orion Centre in Vega Close was one of six across East Sussex earmarked for closure in an attempt to save £28 million in the next three years.

At a recent review and public consultation, three of those six, including the Orion Centre, were approved for closure.

The council said older people will continue to be supported and receive more choice following the review, with new services and services from other providers set to be put in place.

The council was also keen to stress the closures will not happen until alternative services have been found for those currently using the centres.

Cllr Bill Bentley, East Sussex County Council lead member for adult social care, said, “These were not easy decisions to make and we totally understand the strength of feeling on this issue and how highly valued these centres are, but the current system is simply not sustainable.

“We have to make savings of more than £27 million from our adult social care budget over the next three years and these savings have to come from somewhere.”

The authority says the changes are the best way of addressing the economic challenges it faces while avoiding the need to make cuts which would affect the level of service people receive.

Cllr Bentley added, “This is not just about saving money – it’s about making sure a quality service is available for those who need it, not just today but in the long-term future.”

Councillor David Tutt said the centres currently cost between £67 and £110 per person per day, while in the independent or voluntary sector, the average cost per day would be £48.

However, he added it would have been possible for the council to bring down the cost by also allowing private clients to use them.

The Hookstead Centre in Crowborough and Hastings’ Pinehill are the other two centres set to shut their doors.