Staff joy at saved centre

Staff and supporters celebrate
Staff and supporters celebrate
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FOR some it should have been their last day at work.

But thanks to a change of heart by council bosses, staff at Hoyle House Rehabilitation Centre are looking forward to a brighter future.

Around 15 jobs have been saved after the council reversed a decision to close the centre on Argosy Avenue, Grange Park.

Delighted workers are now waiting to hear how the redesigned service will operate.

Team leader Tracy Rata said: “We are so pleased it is staying open. Some staff have already been redeployed or moved into the private sector but there are about 15 of us still here.

“The council has listened and taken on board what we have said. We just couldn’t understand why they would want to close Hoyle House.

“We have worked miracles with people. We have had clients who were unable to walk but we have built up their self esteem and enabled them to remain in the community.”

Rehabilitation support worker Wendy Lowe said: “Today should have been my last day and I had been at a low ebb, but the decision to keep the centre open changed things overnight.

“We are like an extended family here so to have lost the service would have been really bad.”

Staff joined with local government union Unison to fight to keep the centre open.

A spokesman for Unison said: “Their hard work has led to this decision to keep open a much-needed service and to retain dedicated staff.

“The involvement of staff in designing the new service also recognises the key role frontline workers have in delivering quality public services as an alternative to private sector provision.

“This success recognises the fact that a determined campaign can retain valuable services and jobs amidst a torrent of cuts.”

The 28-bed unit acts as a halfway house for patients well enough to be discharged from hospital but not capable of returning home.

Under the previous Conservative council, it was to have been axed to save £345,000 from the town hall’s budget.

But the newly elected Labour council announced this week the centre is to stay open and the service reviewed.