Petition to: stop the closure of the Acorn Centre in Heston

This petition is now closed, as its deadline has passed.

We the undersigned petition Hounslow Council to stop the closure of the Acorn Centre in Heston. More details

Petition update 5 from the council, 28 June 2011

The Mayor introduced the petition for consideration at the meeting
and explained that, whilst the Council had considered a petition on the same matter at its last meeting, he was prepared to accept this new petition as the as the consultation process on the future of the Acorn Centre, the matter concerned, was still ongoing.

The Mayor invited Ms Clark and Ms Macnamara to give short introductions to the petitions. Ms Short advised that she understood the difficult financial circumstances being faced by the Council but asked the Council to consider carefully the future of the Acorn Centre as it
provided support to some of the most vulnerable residents in the Borough, and the support and opportunities that it offered would be lost forever if it were to close.

She also explained that in addition to the services provided, it also allowed a venue for interrelationships to take place and its loss would lead to loss of contact and communication for many, which was likely to
lead to acute loneliness, a sense of isolation from the community and possible mental health problems. She concluded by asking Members to agree to keep the Centre open.

Mr Macnamara argued that the Acorn Centre was a valuable service providing, for many of its users, a much needed and sometime solitary link with the outside world; its closure would lead to the closure of a door on the lives of many of its users. In addition to helping its direct service users, it provided support to their families and carers and its closure could result in some people being no longer able to support users and thus resulting in higher costs to the Council as other support provision would be required. She accepted that some of the Centre users would find alternative services but many of the highly dependent people who attended thevenue would not.

The Centre had a successful history and its longevity was a source of
comfort for its users: its experienced staff were skilled in spotting problems in its clientele and directing them to the correct support service before the issue developed into something much harder and expensive, both socially and financially, to deal with. Continuity and community was required which was why requiring users to go elsewhere was inappropriate and the consequences of closure were different to that of a youth club or library.

In the absence of Councillor Gurmail Lal, the relevant Executive Member, Councillor Jagdish Sharma, the Leader of the Council, responded to the petitioners. He asked all users and their families to contribute their opinions to the consultation exercise which was currently taking
place. He noted that if the Centre was to close, high need users would be given a service review and an individual budget to use for acquiring alternative support, and lower need users would be assisted to find other appropriate venues. In addition, a new range of preventative
services would be available from November 2011.

The Mayor then invited Councillor Pamela Fisher to comment and she, after thanking Ms Short and Ms Macnamara for their courage in addressing the Council, stated that everyone was vulnerable in some way. She considered that there was no service like that provided at the
Acorn Centre anywhere else in the Borough and that the Council should take pride in the number of people praising the service as it currently stood. She concluded by asking Members to consider very carefully the services that it planned to cut.

The Mayor then invited Councillor Liz Mammett to comment and she also congratulated Ms Short and Ms Macnamara for coming to address Members. She advised that she had visited the centre and been impressed by the age range of its clientele which stretched from eleven to sixty-five years of age. It was a safe supportive environment and helped both its users and their carers, and gave all involved opportunities to make contact and help add useful structure to their day to day lives. Its educational support also provided a sense of achievement and aspiration. She regretted that the question mark over the Centre’s future meant that there was a sense of confusion and concern amongst the service users.

The extension of the consultation exercise had only exacerbated this and caused more stress for the users and their families. There was a concerning lack of detail about what alternatives were being proposed
and she concluded by asking Members not to abandon the Centre’s users and their carers.

Councillor Sharma then expressed his shared sympathies and concerns with the Centre’s users and he regretted that the Government was unwilling to support the Council financially to help it avoid having to consider cutting services.

The Mayor then put the matter to the vote and it was RESOLVED.

Petition update 4 from the council, 28 March 2011

Additional pettions were submitted by Mrs s Clark. two Facebook pages have also been created. "help'save Acorn Centre" has 163 friends and have been added as signatures to this on-line petition. The Facebook page entitele "save the Acorn Centre" also has 163 frineds. These are considered as "supporters" and the relevant officers have been advised to take into account comments through the consultation process.

Petition update 3 from the council, 28 March 2011

An additional hand written pettion has been received containing 707 signatures.

Petition update 2 from the council, 03 March 2011

A second petition containing 700 signatures has also been received and added to this on-line petition.

Petition update 1 from the council, 03 March 2011

This petition will be considered by Borough Council at the April 2011 meeting.

More details from petition creator

Hounslow Council said that they might close the Acorn Resource Centre in Heston. We think that the Acorn Resource Centre should stay open.

Current signatories

Emily, the petition creator, joined by:

  • 1,689 offline signatures