THE Moorlands Day Service centre is set to be downsized after Staffordshire County Council announced plans to transform the quality of care and support residents with learning disabilities receive.
Following a three-month consultation, the authority is proposing to create a number of new bespoke centres across the county to help those with the most complex needs, together with offering packages of support to others.
This would include a facility on the current site in Buxton Road, Leek, which would be smaller than the current centre.
However, over the consultation period several demonstrations have taken place amid fears that many people could be left in their own homes with elderly carers if the current centre, in Buxton Road, Leek, was closed.
Alan White, who has responsibility for care at the county council, said: "The review of how we support people with learning disabilities is all about improving the quality of support people receive to live better, more fulfilled lives rather than 'fitting' people into what is already available.
"It is about offering people choices and flexibility, focusing on what people can achieve with the right support and absolutely where possible making sure this is as valued active members of our community.
"Over the years we have seen more and people with learning disabilities look to find jobs or voluntary work and they have really blossomed in the community, which is something we want for as many as people as possible.
"However, from the outset we have recognised that there are some residents who have very complex needs and they will always need a high-level of support and that it is why we want to take what already works well in larger centres and improve on this in creating even better care in smaller more bespoke centres."
Pauline Hall of Newtown near Longnor, has a 33-year-old son attending the Leek centre three days a week because he has severe learning difficulties and behaviour problems .
She said: "The decision that we will keep a smaller unit in Leek is pleasing, but a black cloud still hangs over us as the council keeps stating this decision is in the medium term.
"Is the county council going to accept new admissions? If not we are going down the same path.
"Everyone now, I understand, will be assessed to their needs and only the most severe cases will go to the unit.
"What are the council going to do with the large building?"
Last month, Leek South county councillor Charlotte Atkins presented a petition containing more than 1,800 signatures to the county council in an effort to save Moorlands Day Service.
She said this week: "The present building would be downsized in the proposals. The new unit would accept those with the most severe learning disabilities.
"This, however, would leave others with nowhere to go, which would leave them isolated.
"Everyone will be assessed to see if they are eligible for financial support, but some could find they can't do anything with it. It seems support could be lower than at present."
The report from the consultation and the recommendations will now be considered by the Healthy Staffordshire Committee on January 13 and by the ruling county council cabinet on January 15.