DEVASTATED families have called an urgent meeting to debate the closure of a beloved day centre, to be chaired by Oxfordshire's newest MP.

National charity the Home Farm Trust announced last month that it plans to close its Milton Heights centre.

The hub just outside Didcot looks after more than 60 adults with disabilities and houses 25 highly vulnerable long-term residents.

The shock news that it would close in May was met with outrage from family members and social workers, who have now formed an action group that is fighting to keep the facility open.

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The group has now booked a meeting for next Friday, February 14, to be hosted by the new Wantage MP, David Johnston, who won his seat in December.

The group, which now boasts more than 50 members, also hopes the meeting will be joined by county councillors and HFT executives.

Mr Johnston was approached by members of the Action Group seeking his intervention.

The Conservative MP said he is ‘keen to find a workable solution for all parties’.

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New Wantage MP David Johnston.

Oxfordshire residents opposing the day centre's closure have also gained the support of county councillor Jane Hanna, who said it was an area dear to her heart because of her advocacy work on disabilities.

Family members also reached out to Conservative county councillor Yvonne Constance and Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran to help resolve ‘a truly awful situation’.

Th action group claimed that many families of the day service users were not informed at all, but were merely left to find out through the grapevine.

The group added: “This sudden and brutal action involving both the loss of homes and the severing of long established bonds of friendship, reliance and trust between families, staff and those they support, as well as the abrupt way the news was communicated, has left all concerned traumatised.

“There are already reports of service users being very seriously disturbed by the news, with at least one raging and weeping and refusing to leave his home.”

Graham and Barbara Williams, whose daughter Lydia has depended on HFT’s residential services since 2003, are at the forefront of the campaign to save the Milton Heights centre.

Also read: Disabled adults and children 'traumatised' by sudden day centre closure

In a letter to the charity’s director of operations Eoin Keogh the couple said: “Any talks (with HFT) have to be meaningful and at the highest level, with honesty, cooperation and openness from all parties.”

When announcing the closure of the site last month, the charity said the Milton Heights site was no longer financially viable.

Mr Keogh said in January: “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.”

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’.

See tomorrow's Oxford Mail for a special report on how some families are affected.