From 1 April, the Independent Living Centre in the Isle of Wight will close and return as ‘The Independent Support Centre’.

The Independent Living Centre, run by local charity People Matter IW,  is to close at the end of March due to a lack of funding. The charity hopes that it will be able to repurpose the centre to continue to support its many clients across the Island.

Based in Newport, Isle of Wight, the centre has been supporting people of all ages who want to continue to live independently.

It provides detailed needs assessments and the opportunity to discuss, view, and try a range of quality equipment, aids, and adaptations for daily living. This includes larger items of furniture, such as beds and chairs, to smaller, adapted handheld items such as crockery and cutlery.

The facility is set up with bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and lounge areas, so people visiting the centre could view the items in realistic settings and test equipment on a “try-before-you-buy” basis. Crucially, the centre has no commercial interests and has been able to offer impartial advice to people before they purchase goods elsewhere.

Since the centre opened in 2012, it has supported over thirty thousand people to live independently at home for longer without the need for support from statutory services. It has also helped remove some of the barriers disabled people often face when purchasing equipment by offering them more independence, choice, and control.

The service was originally established by the charity in conjunction with the Isle of Wight Council to address identified gaps in services. It has been delivered thanks to funding from the Better Care Fund. However, that funding is no longer available, and despite “considerable efforts” to find other sources of income, alternative funding has not been identified.

Terri Baker, Manager of People Matter IW said: “This has been an extremely difficult decision to make and not one that we have made lightly. The Centre has been an important lifeline to enable people to stay safe and live independently at home for longer and we are very proud of the work we have done here to make a difference to thousands of people’s lives and extremely grateful to those colleagues who have supported the delivery of this vital service.

“We know just how much of a loss this will be to the local community, but without the funding, we simply have no option but to close the centre at the end of March.

“However, we would like to reassure people that we will be continuing to provide the same high quality, impartial advice, information and guidance over the phone to those who need our support.”

Other services offered by People Matter IW are unaffected. These include its Find your Care service, ‘We Stand Together’, Learning Disability Support Centre, Personal Assistant Recruitment and Employment Service (PARES) and Independent Advocacy, as well as its user-led involvement groups like the Learning Disabilities Partnership Group, Autism Inclusion Matters (AIM), Carers Group, and its Long-term Conditions focus group.

The Independent Living Centre will continue to be open to the public, by appointment only, until 4pm on Thursday 30 of March. The charity will then continue to provide its other services from its base in Bernard Way, including its independent living telephone advice and support.


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