A proposed merger of two Renfrewshire day centres has sparked outrage with concerned family members who held a protest outside the council's headquarters. 

Families and members of the public stood together to make their feelings known last Friday with Scottish Conservative councillor David McGonigle and MSP Pam Gosal supporting their cause. 

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Renfrewshire Council look to merge the Milldale Centre in Linwood and the Mirin Centre in Paisley to tackle their ever-growing £14.7 million deficit.

People who gathered outside highlighted why they felt it was important that these two lifeline centres remain.

The Gazette:

Helen McAleer, who is a full-time carer for her daughter and a pensioner, said: "Not only is there a mental health crisis for the cared for but one amongst the carers too.

"These places are a lifeline for carers and it is also a safe space for vulnerable people.

"When they closed over covid, we were on our knees and we had to fight really hard to get this service back. Now they are taking it away again."

The Gazette:

Another set of carers, Ronnie and Linda, attended the gathering to fight for their son Graham, who goes to the Milldale Centre in Linwood.

Ronnie said: "Why shut these places down when the council are wasting money on every other project?

"This is a critical thing for our young adults.

"We have a son who goes to Milldale and has been for three years. That is his life and that is all he talks about.

"Seeing his friends there and the projects they do makes him happy, so for the council to try and take one of them away is an absolute disgrace."

The Gazette: David McGonigle and Pam Gosal MBEDavid McGonigle and Pam Gosal MBE (Image: Anthony Flett)

Pam Gosal, MBE MSP for West of Scotland, said: "It is very important that the council listen to these people.

"Some of the families and mothers I have spoken to have said that this is their lifeline.

"It is not a lifeline for just that person but also their families too."

The Gazette:

The Gazette:

Susan McGratten, a concerned mum, started a petition in December 2023 to fight for the two sites to remain open, which has now accumulated over 2500 signatures.

Susan, from Linwood, feels that none of the sites should close as they give "invaluable" support to every family who uses them as her daughter Jemma attends the Milldale Centre.

She said: "Jemma has been going to the Milldale for around about 12/15 years.

"I just felt that if they close there, where is she going to go? Much like other service users.

"That is why I started the petition and tried and highlight what was going on.

"Jemma suffers from anxiety and epilepsy and sometimes it is hard to get her to calm down, and when that happens the staff sometimes call me and I can walk up to the centre as I don't drive and calm her down.

Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) said that they are "working hard" on where they can close the budget gap.

They also said that any proposal put forward for consideration represents areas they believe can safely make the "existing service models more efficient".

The Gazette:

A spokesperson from Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership added: "No decisions have yet been made on any proposals that are currently being considered.

"We are currently undertaking a period of engagement with our service users, residents, families and carers - as well as with our HSCP staff and other relevant stakeholders.

“Our engagement approach has been designed to give people choice in how and when they can contribute to the discussion and will be used to inform the EQIAs, impact assessments and final recommendations that IJB Members will be asked to consider at its meeting in March.”