The decision to stop the merging of two Renfrewshire day centres has been described as "wonderful and incredible”.

Earlier today (Monday, April 29), the Renfrewshire Integration Joint Board (IJB) was tasked for a second time to vote on proposals to merge Linwood's Milldale Centre with Paisley's Mirin Centre.

The decision was rejected after the board voted against the proposals 5-3.

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We previously reported how suggestions by the IJB and Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) estimated a saving of just over £450k.

Outside council headquarters, before the decision was made, Joanne Kurth said that she was there for her son Tim. 

The Gazette:

The Brookfield resident said that the Milldale Centre was a great place for her son, who has autism, as there are not many places that he would go to.

The 63-year-old said: "It is not only he is going somewhere safe, he is going somewhere he is happy to go to.

"With autism, there are not a lot of things that they will go to.

"He has a meaningful life, he is engaged in good activity and his physical and mental health is well cared for."

Many carers, family members and loved ones held a protest outside Renfrewshire House each time the proposals were held.

The Gazette:

Councillor David McGonigle, who has fought alongside concerned constituents and those with loved ones who rely on the centres since the proposals were first mentioned, says the “devastating” plans should never have been on the table.

A petition against the merger of the Milldale Centre and the Mirin Centre gained almost 4,000 signatures, which Councillor McGonigle praised for showing their “strength of feeling” against the plans.

He said: “This is a wonderful and incredible victory for local campaigners.

“They have fought this planned merger tirelessly at every turn and their voices have at long last been heard by decision-makers.

"Almost 4,000 people signed a petition which showed the strength of feeling against the proposals.

“I have been proud to stand alongside them since these totally misguided plans were brought forward.

"They should never have been on the table and I have heard first-hand as to just how devastating a merger of these vital centres would have been for some of my most vulnerable constituents.

“The continued delays to a final decision have created huge anxiety for them and their loved ones.

“Now that the right decision has been made, I am urging the SNP Scottish Government to fully fund our councils to support the Milldale Centre in my ward and the Mirin Centre in Paisley going forward, to avoid such a plan ever being considered again.”

Councillor Jennifer Adam, chairperson of the IJB board, said the proposals didn't have the support of the SNP administration.

She said: "I am delighted with the outcome.

"I have been working closely with the families, especially a group of around eight from Milldale who I have been working with in particular.

"It was meeting them that absolutely rang through to me how much they rely on this service and how much they are a support network for one another.

"These are individuals who have had to fight for everything. They have had to fight for a package, fight for a place in Marry Russell or Riverbrae.

"They have been battling all their days to get what they are entitled to.

"The HSCP officers will be looking at other avenues now and it should not be coming back before the board."