MORE than 100 adults with learning disabilities have been left feeling 'hopeless and despairing of their future' after the sudden closure of a beloved day centre.

National charity Home Farm Trust announced to staff last week that it plans to shut its South Oxfordshire site in May.

More than 100 people with many different types of learning disability, on end-of-life support, the elderly and dementia sufferers, and people with other complex health needs depend on the care provided by the Milton Heights day centre near Didcot.

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One mum, Alison Baker whose daughter, Charlie, goes to the centre, said the announcement of the closure was 'handled appallingly' and that families and social workers received no prior warning.

She explained: "HFT management just turned up, announced the closure to staff last Monday and then started telling clients the next day - telling them basically that everything they know as safe and secure - and in some cases the home and the only family they have - is shutting down in May.

"They have made no effort to even provide a list of other alternatives to these obviously very upset and traumatised adults."

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The parent said the closure was handled 'morally and ethically wrong'.

Ms Baker added: "My daughter attends the day centre service and she has fallen apart at the news - as a family we are trying desperately to find a solution for her - which is proving tricky - but at least she has a family to advocate for her - some of the people HFT serves have no family."

However, HFT's director of operations Eoin Keogh explained that the Milton Heights site is no longer financially viable.

He said: "We recognise that this will be a difficult and unsettling time for the people supported at the service, their families, and the staff team who work there.

"Like other learning disability providers, HFT has been facing a number of financial challenges which are underpinned by the longstanding underfunding of adult social care by Government."

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Mr Keogh added that 'alternative accommodation and support for those living and accessing the site will be identified' and that 'Oxfordshire County Council will coordinate this for any individuals funded by the council'.

A spokesperson fpor the local authority said it is working to ensure that people at Milton Heights are provided with alternative support.

They added: "In order to achieve this we will work closely with people using the service, their families, the Home Farm Trust and our housing and support providers to ensure that any transition is as seamless as possible.

"Our emphasis is on helping individuals to have their own tenancy where appropriate, enabling them to live in their own home as part of the local community."