Families of vulnerable children and adults gathered outside Renfrewshire House to voice concerns about a possible merging of two lifeline centres.

It comes after the is council looking to make cuts to help bring down a £14.7 million deficit.

The two centres that are proposed to merge are the Milldale Centre in Linwood and the Mirin Centre in Paisley.

The Gazette:

A huge group of people made the effort to gather ahead of what was an Integration Joint Board meeting which brought together councillors and NHS representatives to discuss the merger proposals.

The Gazette:

Councillor David McGonigle had previously backed the protest to take place as he wanted people to have "their voices heard".

He said outside the council building: "There are a number of reasons why today is important.

"It shows you the strength in anger amongst the community and how strong they feel about these centres.

"Closing these centres will have a devastating impact on not only the service users but the family, community and the economy.

"To date the council has not really answered all the questions the parents and service users have raised.

"That was why we wanted to have a public meeting but as you know the council rejected that."

The Gazette:

A spokesperson from Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) said: “Integration Joint Boards (IJBs) have a duty to set a balanced budget - and Renfrewshire HSCP Officers are working hard to identify areas where we can make recommendations to address the current budget gap. 

“We are looking across all HSCP services to identify savings, but the initial proposals we have put forward for consideration represent areas where we believe we can safely make our existing service models more efficient. We fully understand why many people are worried about the future and are conscious of the unrest any changes might cause.

“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.”