Older person’s day centres closure consultation

Closed 18 Nov 2020

Opened 13 Oct 2020



In Luton, we have set ourselves, the ambitious target of ensuring that no one lives in poverty by 2040. Living in poverty means not having enough money to live well. This vision is at the heart of everything we do as poverty is at the root of some of the biggest challenges the town faces.

We are taking steps towards this through transforming public health and wellbeing, focusing on intervention and prevention built on a strength-based approach. This means we will identify an individual’s ‘strengths’ such as their abilities, skills, knowledge and potential as well as their social and community networks, that will help or enable the individual to deal with challenges in life and meet their needs to achieve their desired outcomes. We believe that all adults should have a good quality of life.

Our values are at the centre of how we support adults in Luton. We believe that by listening, understanding, designing services together and working without judgement, we will ensure the best possible outcomes for those that need our support.


Over the last two years the take up of day care provision has been steadily reducing. Before the Covid-19 crisis, 53 per cent of all available day care places were allocated to residents with only 48 per cent of all places being used.

In one of our day centre locations, only 6 per cent of the full capacity was used weekly prior to the crisis.

Luton Council has to make £22 million worth of savings across the council to ensure a balanced budget for 2020-2021. Adult Social Care services have to contribute £4.5 million of savings to support this emergency budget. To ensure we minimise the impact on services we must provide by law (statutory services); we are proposing to re-assess the services that have been underused and are quite costly to maintain.  Our older person’s day care centre provision falls into this category.  We are proposing to significantly change the way day care centres are accessed and used and to review the criteria for day care placements to ensure they meet the needs of people with advanced dementia and complex needs as well as permanently close two day care centres - St Monica’s and Betty Dodd.

In addition, we are proposing to meet the needs of older people attending these centres with the council’s Side-by-Side programme. This is a personalised approach to social care looking at the outcomes that are important to an individual and support them in using all available resources as appropriate. It takes into account a person’s unique circumstances and their capacity, strengths and existing networks that would help the individual to achieve their goals.

The Care Act 2014 underpins this approach by requiring Adult Social Care (ASC) to consider the person’s own capabilities and support available from their wider network or within the community that would help the person, alongside the provision of care and support, to meet the outcomes they want to achieve.

What is an older person’s day-care centre?

Older people day service provides and offers social activities as part of assessed needs.

Luton Council currently manages four day centres for older people, these are St Monica’s, Betty Dodd, Farley, and Colwell Court day centres.

Day care provision is not a statutory service however; it has been part of our provision to help people meet their assessed needs.  We are proposing to rely less on day centres to meet the assessed needs of an older person but rather explore other ways such as accessing activities or services being run by local community groups and charities, as well as using, personal assistants, direct payments and other support networks.

St Monica’s Day Centre

This council owned centre for people over 65 years is in need of significant modernisation and redecoration for which there are limited funds. This is an older facility with a number of maintenance issues. Flooding in October 2019, resulted in service users relocating to other centres. During the six months prior to closure in 2019 (prior to Covid-19), the centre had 39 people registered for day care activities. 

The centre has experienced a number of issues with vandalism and attempted break-ins. As the centre is located at the end of a narrow cul-de-sac there are also significant access difficulties due to resident parking and the very limited on-site parking. Overall, the annual cost of maintaining the building is in excess of £68,000 including planned maintenance. To keep this site operational over the next five years, the council will be required to spend in excess of £632,000.

Betty Dodd Day Care Centre

Bedfordshire Pilgrim Housing Association owns this site; and the centre caters for people over 65 years old with the majority of people using the centre having low levels of need and mainly attending one to two days weekly.

Bedfordshire Pilgrim Housing Association has proposed a 300 per cent rent increase. Adult social care does not have the funds to meet this rent increase.

Farley Hill /Jill Jenkins

This location was developed to accommodate people with advanced dementia and operates seven days a week. Over the last three years, the numbers attending the centre have decreased year on year. At weekends the centre can support 30 places but there are only two people registered to attend the weekend service; suggesting a lack of demand for this service.

During weekdays the centre has a capacity of 25 places but before the Covid-19 crisis on average 12 places were being used per day.

Colwell Day Centre  

This site supports people who are frail and/or with dementia. This location has capacity of 25 places and before Covid-19 there were on average eight people per day using the venue and service.

Why we are consulting

To ensure financial sustainability we have made significant savings over the last four years. The already challenging situation has worsened by the Covid-19 crisis, which has had an impact on the funding available for services across the council. As with all local authorities, we have a legal obligation to balance the council’s budget. We have some very difficult decisions to make. We need to ensure that the money we spend and the resources available are used in the most effective way to meet the needs of the most vulnerable within our community.

Our proposal

  1. To review the needs of all people who use the service and identify other models of support such as voluntary sector and personal assistance through direct payments.
  2. To implement and review the criteria for older people day care placements so that it meets the needs of people with advanced dementia and complex needs and their carers who require more than three days of support or more.
  3. Deliver flexible and more personalised support and rely less on providing activities or services that are based at the day centres.
  4. To promote individual choice and independence through accessing services that are being delivered by charities, community groups and other organisations in the voluntary and independent sector.
  5. Achieve savings of £354,000 through the closing of St. Monica’s and Betty Dodd Day Centres.
  6. Use the extra care sheltered housing site at Abigail Court to provide additional opportunity for day activities.
  7. To stop the Farley Day Centre weekend service due to the severe decline in the number of people using the service which has been the case before the Covid-19 crisis.
  8. Build on the current model of care offered by the Side-by-Side programme that will help older people to develop the skills and abilities to achieve their goals.

Side-by-Side case study showing change of demand

Mr A had attended a day care centre for five years. He was admitted to hospital and was reviewed on discharge. Instead of attending the day care centre, staff worked with Mr A using the strength based approach. They identified what his true talents and aspirations were and found a hobby group that he could attend weekly. This has been a great success for him and he no longer needs to attend the day care centre.

Mrs A had attended a day care centre three days a week for many years; she used aids and adaptations supplied by the council and a personal assistant (PA).  At her review a strength-based approach was applied and instead of day care, it was recommended to increase her personal assistant. The PA now takes her to other activities she enjoys and she no longer uses a day care centre. Feedback from her suggests she is experiencing much higher levels of satisfaction with her day activities and is much happier.

The benefits of the Side-by-Side programme

Some outcomes for people who use the service have been:

  • increased individual choice and independence through access to services and activities delivered by charities, community groups and organisations in the voluntary and independent sector
  • prevention of social isolation (little or no contact with others)
  • better access to information as well as more choice and control of activities
  • more opportunity to take control of health and wellbeing
  • helped prevent/reduce crises
  • increased opportunity to contribute to society

We want to hear your views

We want to hear your views on our proposals and how it would affect you accessing the support you need before a decision is made. We welcome your comments and suggestions. 

We aim to give you as much opportunity as possible to provide your views.  With this mind, you may do so in the following ways:

  • by completing a questionnaire online by clicking on the survey link further down this page
  • if you do not have online access, a paper copy of the consultation survey can be requested by calling 01582 548553 or 01582 548554, or email opdconsultation@luton.gov.uk
  • if you require the consultation document and survey in another language or format eg easy read or large print, please request this by phone on 01582 548553 or 01582 548554 or email opdconsultation@luton.gov.uk
  • Easy read document can be downloaded from the 'related documents' section further down this page

Online meetings

Online meetings will take place on two days during the consultation period so that people can hear about the proposals and ask questions, these are scheduled to take place via Zoom on:

  • Thursday 22 October  6pm to 7pm
  • Wednesday 28 October 7pm to 8pm

Please register your interest for joining the online meeting by phone on 01582 548553 or 01582 548554, or email opdconsultation@luton.gov.uk

Dedicated telephone lines

We will also make available dedicated telephone lines (01582 548553 or 01582 548554) over six days during the consultation period so that you can ask questions about the proposals, these are scheduled to take place on:

  • Monday 19 October 1pm to 4pm
  • Wednesday 21 October 10am to 2pm
  • Monday 26 October 10am to 12pm
  • Tuesday 27 October 3pm to 5.30pm
  • Thursday 29 October 11am to 12,30pm
  • Friday 30 October 1pm to 3pm


What happens next

This consultation is now closed and we are in the process of considering all the responses received.  A report detailing the results of the consultation will be presented to the Executive meeting in February 2021 and will be shared with the public soon after.


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