A SECRET meeting held at Oxfordshire County Council decided the future of the much-loved Milton Heights day centre.

'Traumatised' families had demanded an urgent assembly to debate the sudden announcement of closure of the hub outside Didcot, which looks after more than 60 adults with disabilities and houses 25 highly vulnerable long-term residents.

However, they were assured by managers from the national charity Home Farm Trust, which announced its plans to shut down the day centre earlier in January, that 'there is no prospect whatsoever of revoking their decision'.

Chaired by Wantage MP David Johnston, the meeting was attended by county council officials, HFT seniors and family members and social workers from the Action Group that is fighting to keep the facility open.

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Father of one of the day centre users, Graham Williams, who is also at the forefront of the fight to keep the Milton Heights facility opened, attended the debate on Friday.

He explained that HFT was not even able to extend the time frame for closure.

The concerned father added: "In fact it is obvious to all parties that HFT is in serious financial difficulty at Milton Heights.

"With regret, our group therefore has to accept the reality of the situation."

However, Mr Williams explained that members of the Action Group were assured that the county council is working with urgency to cope with the crisis and ensure that residents and day centre users are found suitable alternative placements that meet their needs and those of their families.

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He added that Mr Johnston promised his ongoing support at any time, should family members feel pressure needs to be exerted.

The closure of the centre could leave more than 100 people with many types of learning disability, on end-of-life support, the elderly, dementia sufferers, and people with other complex health needs who depend on the care provided, without a secure future.

Earlier this year Oxfordshire County Council promised its support to those affected by the closure.

A spokesperson said: "We will work closely with people using the service, their families, the HFT and our housing and support providers to ensure that any transition is as seamless as possible.