Leeds: Day centre users plan protest over closure proposals

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Users of under-threat mental health day centres are to demonstrate outside a council meeting tomorrow.

Leeds City Council is proposing to reorganise mental health services, which could include closing two out of three day centres and creating a community team and social enterprise programme.

But users of the Vale centre in Hunslet say they are devastated. Lynn Payler, who has been attending three times a week for 18 months, said it was a "lifeline".

Miss Payler, who suffers from severe depression, anxiety and panic attacks, said: "You are with other people who understand how you feel.

"Before I went there I was not going out of the house."

The 46-year-old from Cottingley said a protest would be held before the

Council's Executive Board meeting tomorrow, when councillors will discuss the proposals. They include closing a Crisis Centre, creating a new system of mental health day services and reviewing council-provided supported accommodation.

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member for adult social care, said: "At a time when council budgets are facing unprecedented pressures, we want to find a way of providing services to meet the needs of vulnerable people in Leeds in the best and most financially viable way possible.

"It is evident there is a lot of duplication within mental health care services in the city, which needs addressing if we are to continue to meet vulnerable people's needs with less funding."

"We are having to make very difficult decisions – but we have to ensure that we are supporting the people of Leeds in the best way possible."

HELPING HAND: Ben Wilson, MD at MPM, with Victoria Hopkins, MD at Hopkins Catering. PIC: Tony Johnson

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