Concern over centre transport changes

Bill Haining is concerned about the changes to the transport for the Ellon Resource Centre.
Bill Haining is concerned about the changes to the transport for the Ellon Resource Centre.

A Balmedie dad has raised his concerns over changes being made to a transport service which allows those with special needs to get to the Ellon Resource Centre.

Bill Haining has criticised the decision taken by Aberdeenshire Council’s Health and Social Care Partnership which is removing the service from his daughter, Susanne.

Susanne, 30, suffers from Cerebral Palsy, uses a wheelchair and requires one-to- one support at all times.

Susanne relies on the free transport to get to and from the Ellon Resource Centre however Bill was informed at Susanne’s review in October that her transport will stop in January.

Susanne will then need to rely on others to help her get to the centre.

Bill said: “The removal of the ‘bus’ will mean considerable extra expense to already financially challenged service users, put strain on carers and significantly affect how those with special needs, with or without physical disabilities, feel accepted and valued.

“The service offered by the Resource Centre in Ellon is highly valued by its users because it gives those cared for the chance to get out of their houses and meet with their peers.”

Bill added: “Not only does it benefit them socially, but it also benefits them physically and mentally as many of this community are not otherwise able to access the various activities and therapies that severely disabled users need and have provided for them at the Centre.

“The Partnership deny that this is a cost cutting exercise, so the bus will meantime continue to pick up some, even passing the door of others, more severely disabled, who have now been denied its use.”

Aberdeenshire Council’s head of Adult and Criminal Justice Services, Philip English, said: “There is no regular bus provision to Ellon Resource Centre as service users all have individual requirements and care plans and the service provided in terms of transport to access services is responsive and acutely linked to their needs.

“However, where people are unable to provide transport, or are in receipt of mobility benefits, this is taken into consideration in assessing what their transport needs are and how to meet them.

“As we conduct individual person-centred reviews it may be that transport arrangements change.”