The closure of Riverside day centre has come as a huge shock to families who rely on the service.
The reasoning – that it is unable to operate due to Coronavirus – seems completely bizarre.
Not only are all social distancing measures soon set to be scrapped, presumably all the vulnerable adults who attend the centre have already been vaccinated.
Although COVID is not going away any time soon, the idea that it could permanently see off any form of long term group gatherings doesn’t stand scrutiny.
After being closed throughout the entire pandemic the centre is now needed all the more. And how the decision came about is an even more confusing story. Southwark Council says it had no idea the Camden Society would not reopen Riverside in the autumn. The society says it did notify the council and it will be discussing ideas for ‘care in the community’ and other activities delivered locally in future.
In a classic case of buck passing the council says it doesn’t commission the service and it was not a council decision to close the centre – implying its hands are tied even though it owns the building and can presumably find someone else to take over. Those with places at Riverside will have to try to find another provider or use a council-commissioned service. How easy will that be when we are talking about around 90 people? Where exactly could accommodate them all?
Southwark Council needs to stop dithering and take a stand. It should commit to keep Riverside open and, if the Camden Society won’t backtrack, it must urgently find another organisation to take over.