Eastend’s valuable Accord centre set for closure

Demonstrators in George Square protesting the closure. Picture © Cameron King

Over the last year, controversy has abounded around the impending closure of the Accord Centre; a day care centre in Glasgow’s East End, where people with learning disabilities such as Autism and Down’s Syndrome can enjoy activities and socialise. It is to be demolished and replaced with a bus station in preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The day before he was elected First Minister for a second term, Alex Salmond assured Accord users and their families that ‘like for like’ facilities would be provided. Such facilities, however, are yet to materialise. Instead, the service users are being offered space in one of the many local community centres, deemed by the affected families as ‘woefully inadequate.’

“I do not think that it is acceptable for the local authority to just close the centre without offering an alternative,” said Professor Nick Watson, head of the Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research Further, “Whatever the local authority offer to replace Accord, the decision must be made in consultation with the service users themselves. They must be fully involved in future planning and any [of] the plans must encourage inclusion and participation.”

The local MSP, John Mason, met with carers from the Accord Centre and in a letter written to Anne Marie, head of Social Work, North East, said that “I did stress to them [the carers] that we are in a position where there needs to be some compromise and there needs to be some middle-ground…that if they take an ‘all or nothing’ approach the danger is they will end up with nothing.” Mason went on to say that, whilst desirable, he did not believe it necessary that the service users have their own building or that it be purpose built.

[David Selfe]

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