A Renfrewshire councillor is urging people to “let their voices be heard” at a planned protest outside Renfrewshire Council offices.

David McGonigle is backing plans by local campaigners to voice their opposition to the possible merging of the Milldale Centre in Linwood with the Mirin Centre in Paisley, which both care for vulnerable adults.

Campaigners are planning to protest at 10am on Friday, January 26 outside the council’s headquarters ahead of a meeting of Renfrewshire’s Integration Joint Board which will be bringing together councillors and NHS representatives to discuss the merger proposals.

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The Gazette:

We previously reported how the Scottish Conservative and Unionist, who represents Houston, Crosslee and Linwood, expressed his “astonishment” that a senior official from Renfrewshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership turned down an invitation to a public meeting he was planning.

More than 2350 people have now signed a petition against the plans and Councillor McGonigle says that these people “cannot simply be ignored” by decision-makers.

He said: “I have been proud to stand alongside these tireless campaigners fighting to save these lifeline centres.

“It is incredible to see the numbers who have signed the petition and numbers are growing by the day.

"It is fantastic to see that their next step is organising a protest outside the council officials ahead of a meeting where the merger plan will be discussed by councillors and NHS representatives.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to go along to this protest and let their voices be heard. They cannot simply be ignored by decision-makers who are going to determine what services they receive in the future. Indeed, I would urge those decision-makers to come out and listen to them ahead of their meeting.

“If we get a large crowd outside the council’s headquarters, then I hope that would make those at the meeting think twice about going ahead with these misguided and illogical plans.

“I will continue to fight to prevent the merger of the Milldale and Mirin Centres and those in charge must see the scale of the opposition to the proposals and urgently rethink them.”

A spokesperson from Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP)  said “The Integration Joint Board agreed at its meeting in November that HSCP Officers should undertake a formal engagement process with our service users, residents, families and carers - as well as with our HSCP staff and any other relevant stakeholders - to gain a fuller understanding of all views around the savings proposals currently under review.

"This formal engagement process has been underway throughout December and more sessions have been arranged until the end of January.

“Our approach provides sufficient opportunities for those affected to make their feelings known.

"It is also critical that we capture people’s views in a consistent way, as this will provide the most meaningful information to inform our analysis – and will form the basis of the subsequent EQIAs, impact assessments and the final proposals that IJB Members will be asked to consider in March.”