AN emotional mum has spoken of the impact the potential closure of a Renfrewshire day centre will have on her family.

Lesley Orr, mother of Katie who attends the Milldale Centre in Linwood, has said the site is a "lifeline" for her daughter. 

We reported previously how family members gathered outside the council's headquarters to fight against the merging of the Milldare Centre and the Mirin Centre in Paisley.

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The Gazette: Lesley, Katie and Councillor David McGonigle Lesley, Katie and Councillor David McGonigle (Image: Anthony Flett)

Now, Lesley has revealed there are factors that have not been taken into consideration with the plans to merge the centres.

She said: "Change impacts Katie in every way, no matter how small. But with a huge change like this I know, as her mum, she won't cope.

"She struggles with emotions and mostly can't control or express them and as this causes real frustration at times they have come out in a physical way.

"Small changes trigger instability and this potentially huge change is creating a fear of the future when she is constantly asking questions.

"She is repeatedly asking 'what's happening, who will be there? Where am I tomorrow, next week, next month?'"

The Gazette: Protest outside Renfrewshire Council headquarters last month Protest outside Renfrewshire Council headquarters last month (Image: Anthony Flett)

However, Lesley, who is from Lochwinnoch, is worried that Katie could get to a point where they won't be able to help her and that "she will be lost".

The mum says that the 23 year-old has already lost a vital social life in the diluting of flexicare and if the centre closes that it is another element taken away.

And Lesley added that the residents at the centre are "not just a number".

She went on to say: "Milldale Centre is a lifeline for us.  

"It's a place where Katie feels happy, it's a family who care for each other and look after each other.  

"The centre caters for all needs and ensures that everyone is included.  The activities they provide are nurturing, fun, educational and tailored to the individual needs.

"Katie has learned so much and grown in confidence since going there.  

"The staff at the centre make sure that Katie is comfortable and happy and when they recognise she's not they do things to change that.

"This is the best place I could ask for for my daughter."

The Gazette: Protest outside Renfrewshire Council headquarters last month Protest outside Renfrewshire Council headquarters last month (Image: Anthony Flett)

The Gazette: Protest outside Renfrewshire Council headquarters last month Protest outside Renfrewshire Council headquarters last month (Image: Anthony Flett)

She went on to say that the day they have to break the news of the potential closure to Katie is one that they are "dreading".

Lesley said: "The minute you walk into Milldale you feel the warmth from everyone in there, reassuring me that it's safe for Katie and I'm happy to leave her in their very capable hands.

"As this potential change is widely talked about we are already dealing with this and it grows worse every day.

"We as a family sit each day dreading the day when we may have to explain this to her as she won't understand and there will be no support given to help us do this.

"The centre is her only safe space outside her home and family."

David McGonigle, councillor for Houston, Crosslee and Linwood, said: "The potential closure/merger of the Mildale or Mirin centres which cater for adults with learning difficulties constitutes a dire disservice to our community, stripping the vulnerable of indispensable support, thereby casting a shadow over their prospects for growth, autonomy, and overall well-being.

"This decision stands as an affront to the very principles of compassion and unity that underpin our societal fabric.

"This proposal strikes a devastating blow to our community's fabric. It means severing vital lifelines for individuals who depend on these resources for support, camaraderie, and skill development.

"This decision risks isolating some of the most vulnerable members of our society, undermining their progress and diminishing the inclusive spirit that defines our community. Not to mention the impact on carers and parents."

We recognise the anxieties any proposed change can have on families like Katie's and that many people are worried about the future.

A spokesperson for Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership said: "We have significant experience in supporting vulnerable people through this type of change, taking into account their individual circumstances and needs. While this can be initially difficult for some, in many cases where we have successfully worked with individuals, their families, and carers in partnership, many people achieve more positive outcomes in the long term.

"We will continue to listen to, and work with individuals, families, and carers, as well as our HSCP staff and relevant stakeholders.

"If the merger is agreed by the Integration Joint Board in March, changes would not take effect immediately to allow the time needed to plan this transition with each individual and their families. We are committed to maintaining the positive atmosphere and high standard of care that both services currently provide."