September 28th, 2016

Deaf support group thrown out of Stratford hub

Updated: 10:59 am, Jul 01, 2016

SUPPORT groups for the deaf and those with learning disabilities have been told they can no long use a council hub for their meetings.

The running of Stratford Hub at Stratford Cricket Club, was recently tendered out by Warwickshire County Council to care provider Turning Point.

The new providers told learning disability group Mencap and a local deafness support group they would no longer be able to use the hub, with the support group being told it was because they had no learning disabilities.

The deafness group – which has some 15 members – have been using the hub for free every Friday for nearly three years after being invited to do so by staff. Before the agreement they were meeting in a supermarket cafe.

Ruth Goode from the group told the Observer: “Turning Point asked us to stop attending our deaf group there just because we don’t have any learning disabilities.

“We were all so very disappointed with their sudden decision. Our group had no warning or letter to inform us we had to leave the hub. The area manager has suggested a room in a different place which will cost us a reasonable fee but we didn’t pay for the hub for nearly three years.”

Mencap also say they will be looking into holding their popular sessions elsewhere after they were stopped from using the hub.

Warwickshire County Council chose to tender their learning disability hubs out last year under agreement new service specifications are developed after consultations are held.

And provider Turning Point say they have asked the groups to leave so they can run more services.

Warwickshire manager Gemma Clark said: “The new service has been designed based on input from staff, partners, the council and most importantly people who have learning disabilities. They have told us that they want greater access to community groups, venues, services and activities.

“Although this change will enable more people with learning disabilities to engage more with community resources, it does mean that informal agreements around meeting space that were in place between the previous provider and other community groups, are no longer viable. We understand this has been disruptive and are trying to minimise any inconvenience caused by supporting groups to find alternative space locally.”

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