New chapter planned for library

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A NEW community hub for social care advice could be set up at Morpeth Library.

The Gas House Lane facility has been chosen as a pilot location to provide easy access to support workers who can offer planning and advice on personal care budgets.

The project was discussed at a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s Care and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee following a review of daytime support services in 2009 that outlined the need for better information and advice for adults with a disability or illness.

A team of 10 support planners has been in place since early last year to help people who receive personal budgets to participate in projects that suit their lifestyle, rather than using specific services like day care.

The number of people using such budgets has been steadily increasing and community hubs could enable them to make appointments with support planners directly, rather than going through the council’s adult services team.

The hubs could also provide information on other services, community groups and local events.

Council Executive Member for Adult Care and Wellbeing Ian Lindley said: “This initiative is the realisation of the council’s vision which believes adults who have disabilities should feel genuinely included in the community and be able to make informed choices about the support and activities they want to have. This is a big step forward to achieving this.”

Corporate Director for Community Services and Housing Daljit Lally added: “The hubs will play a key role in connecting individuals, families and carers to a range of services across the county.

“We are testing out a mix of different models in our pilot locations.

“Depending upon the success of our hubs we could ultimately see this service being offered in all of the council community areas. A provisional list of 17 towns and villages has been identified.”

The other pilot areas are libraries in Berwick, Haltwhistle and Amble, as well as a council information centre in Cramlington.