End of an era looming at Robert Gough Centre?

Robert Gough Centre
Robert Gough Centre

Relatives claim adults with disabilities are the victims of ‘cost-cutting’ after it emerged a team of social work staff is to move into the Robert Gough Centre.

The move will see 18 members of staff relocate from Carberry House, which is struggling for space following office closures in recent years.

But families claim the Robert Gough Centre – built for adults with learning disabilities in the 1980s – is no longer fit for the people it was created for.

One Methil mum said: “On a Tuesday, my daughter doesn’t get picked up until 12.30 pm and she’s back again at 2.45 pm. It’s hardly worth it.

“I think it’s terrible. They have them walking the streets when they could have used those rooms to teach skills. She loved picture framing.”

“I could see it shutting, that’s the way it going. It’s alright saying we are taking people out in the community, but my daughter was already out in the community.

“Before the centre opened, all adults with learning disabilities did was break fire sticks to sell them. Parents fought for that building and now Fife Council wants it for offices. It’s the end of an era.”

The centre previously provided dozens of activities but the Mail understands service users now access one main hall containing a soft zone, pool table and computers.

Fife Council, meanwhile, claims new staff will occupy just two rooms.

Ian Wilson, service manager said: “Two years ago, we modernised day service provision.

“This has led to more adults with a learning disability accessing activities in the community, instead of within the day centre buildings.

He continued: “The use of the rooms within the buildings has since greatly reduced. As part of the modernisation, we agreed to look at wider use of the buildings by the community and the service.”

But parents claim some service users – especially those with profound needs – are suffering as a result.

One Leven mum said: “We don’t know from one day to the next if our son is here or there, or who their keyworker is. He has autism and the changes are hell.

“I give my son over £10 a day and I’m lucky if he comes back with 30p. Can other parents afford to do that? If I wasn’t working, I wouldn’t be able to.”

Another mother from Leven, who had lodged a formal complaint, said there was a “lack of communication and respect”.

“My daughter’s keyworker changes every two months,” she explained, “and activities are often changed or cancelled. So many staff are leaving because they are at the coalface. They are just as frustrated because they don’t seem to know what’s happening from one day to the next.”

Another parent from Methil, whose daughter has attended the centre for 22 years, said the latest plan for the building was “beyond a joke”.

She said: “It was a purpose-built centre, that’s the bottom line of it. Fife Council is doing this to save money because it is not interested in the clients.”