The last of the consultation meetings was held at Seeleys on 26 February. We were pleased that 'our' Councillor, Isobel Darby, and two other Councillors were present along with a dozen or so parents. Among the points made were:
  • travel times would be significantly increased to the extent that AOC would not be a viable option
  • two parents stated that they would not use AOC for that reason
  • it is therefore likely that clients would go into residential care sooner than their families would otherwise wish at a significant extra cost to BCC. (This has already happened with CHC funded clients who had their place at Seeleys withdrawn two years ago).
  • account hasn't been taken of the traffic disruption which will be caused by HS2 and other work which could lead to traffic chaos for 7-10 years around Aylesbury
  • AOC families are devastated at the twelve month closure
  • what is going to happen to Seeleys Day Centre (see footnote)?
  • only one centre is a mistake and two centres, one in the south, one in the north would be far preferable especially as 67% of the population is in the south.
  • additional pressure will be put on Respite with the closure of Jigsaw in Reading
  • increased demand for places at AOC with the additional housing being built in Aylesbury
  • transport costs will go through the roof because with the distances involved current multiple use minibuses would not be ab option
  • a formal request was made for a detailed cost analysis which would include the longer term impact of people going into residential care sooner and the impact of increased transport costs among other things
  • carers have little time to spend coming to meetings and responding to consultations, as much of their lives are dedicated to providing outstanding care to their loved ones
  • answers to questions put over the last month and a half are only now being put on the BCC Website making it difficult to take account of them in any submissions made before tomorrow's deadline
As a result an hour or so after the meeting BCC announced that the deadline would be extended to 13 March which is good news. It gives us more time to read the latest answers on the FAQ page, to make our views known (and to write to our Councillor).
PS Day Centre - A BFP article published today quoted Cllr Hazell as saying there are “no plans” to make any changes to the day service at Seeleys House even though one of the papers that went to Cabinet stated that [following the proposed move] "The asset [Seeleys site] would then be released for other purposes (c£4.5m site value)". I am seeking clarification.
22:37, 26 Feb 2019 by Tim Addison

In this newsletter I am going to give you early warning of our AGM and update you on what FOSH has been doing and on the consultation that BCC is running on the future of Seeleys (although that is not what they have called it).


This year we are again holding our AGM on a Tuesday. All Friends of Seeleys House are invited. Our President, Countess Howe will take the chair and we will have our usual Agenda. If you have anything you want to raise it would be helpful if you could let me know beforehand.


FOSH AGM  -  Tuesday 7th   May at 7.30 for 8.00 pm


Our current committee is Liz Addison, Tim Addison, Laura Barnett, Anita Davis, Jean Hildreth, Maureen Hurd and Ron Irwin with the managers of Day and Short Breaks services advising us on what Seeleys needs. If anyone else wishes to join the committee, please let me know and they can be proposed at the AGM. I will send out an e-mail reminder closer to the time (if you have an e-mail address but are receiving this by post you can get on my e-mail list by e-mailing me at


Sadly our Treasurer Patrick Arbuthnot Patrick passed away on the 7th of February. Apart from keeping our books impeccably for more years than I can count he was a Trustee, Treasurer or Financial Controller for a number of charities - Friends of Little Missenden Festival, Amersham and Chesham MS Society, Chiltern Youth Matters, Good Neighbours Amersham and District, Chiltern Citizens Advice Bureau and of course SBAD. I knew a little of his other activities because I would get regular requests to give a talk to one of his other charities. He was a good friend of Seeleys and will be missed.


FOSH continues to support both Short Breaks and Day Centre with both activities and equipment. We have bought tablets for both units – an i-pad for Respite which will be used for making choices within and out of the home ( looking at images perhaps helping clients choose a meal) and for activities and games, music, photos and videos, and a Lenovo Yoga Tab with a built in Projector for the Day centre. We have replaced the shading over the wheelchair swing (which was definitely needed last summer) and along with the support of SBAD we have bought sensory equipment and furniture for room 2. We have continued to pay for the second sensory session that is run by Trina Richards as well as paying for transport to enable clients to go on outings to garden centres, bowling and the cinema (at a residential home in Lane End). Planned outings (when the weather improves) include more horse therapy sessions (which went down really well last year), Odds Farm, and Thames Valley Adventure Playground. The client group is different every week and the outing (weather dependant) is changed weekly. Any suggestions for these outing trips are always welcome. BCC will not allow the Day Centre or the Short Break Service to keep a petty cash account which means that there is no cash for treats or presents for clients. Therefore many years ago FOSH set up a "Voluntary Fund" for both Respite and day services for smaller items of expenditure such as birthday presents etc. for the clients. Typically this will be spend of £10 or £20 a time and any 'large' expenditure is separately approved by the FOSH committee.


Residential Short Breaks Consultation Some of you will have received letters concerning the consultation which is going on about a proposed move to Aylesbury of the Short Breaks Service (others may have read about it in the local press). This consultation follows on from consultations on firstly a Short Breaks Strategy and then a Short Breaks Policy. These were only marginally relevant to Seeleys since they covered a range of Short Breaks not just Residential Respite. We won’t know the agreed Policy until March. The latest consultation is directly relevant to Seeleys Respite and indirectly to Seeleys Day Centre – the letter that went out announcing the consultation was titled “Residential Short Breaks Consultation - move to Aylesbury Opportunities Centre (AOC)“ although I feel it should have been more accurately titled “Residential Short Breaks Consultation - move to Aylesbury Opportunities Centre (AOC), closure of Aylesbury Opportunity Centre for a year and the sword of Damocles hanging over Seeleys Day Centre”. I will explain but first a bit of background.


In 2016 we were presented with a comprehensive plan to close Seeleys (Day and Respite) and a number of other Day Centres and move to a new building on the Orchard House site in Cressex. Then in mid-2017 we had the news that this plan had been cancelled. In July last year we were told that the “Fulfilling Lives” team would be looking at all the Day services centre by centre with Seeleys being addressed in late 2018/early 2019. At the same time clients’ needs were to be discussed at their annual reviews. This programme has slipped.


What is proposed? BCC want to knock down part of AOC and build a new Short Breaks Unit based on the plans drawn up for the Orchard House site. It would be a twelve bedded unit and funded jointly by Social Care and Health (which is good news since people like those who had their places at Seeleys withdrawn two years ago because they were CHC funded would be able to use the unit). To do this they will have to close AOC from August this year until August 2020 when a smaller Day Opportunity Centre and a new Residential Short Breaks unit would open. Seeleys Respite could then be closed.  The AOC site is just off the main Aylesbury to Oxford Road.


How is the consultation being run? BCC have written to parents/carers of Seeleys and AOC clients inviting comments. They set up four events (two at Seeleys and two at AOC) to tell us about their plans and where we could give our views, raise concerns and ask questions. They have listed this consultation on their website under “Current consultations” and have also given the answers to a few of the questions asked on a Frequently Asked Questions page. For people who do not have access to the internet Adam Willison has arranged for copies of the papers to be printed and made available at both Seeleys and AOC.  In addition, anyone who would like information posted can either let him know or they can ask the service to send copies to them.  Adam’s contact details are Adam Willison, Commissioning Manager - Direct Care & Support Services and Integration, Communities, Health and Adult Social Care, Buckinghamshire County Council, Walton Street, Aylesbury, Bucks. HP20 1UA. In addition, because the timing of the event at Seeleys were not suitable for many people there will be a further consultation meeting at Seeleys on 26 February at 10am.


Whether or not you have been to one of the consultation meetings or are able to make it to the one on 26th it is important that your views are made known by

E-mailing – put ‘Residential Short Breaks Consultation’ in the subject line.

Calling 01296 383 122 and leaving a message with your contact details.

Writing to Residential Short Breaks Consultation, Joint Commissioning Team, Buckinghamshire County Council, New County Offices, Walton Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1UA

The Residential Short Breaks Consultation runs from the 16 January to the 27 February.


Why are we concerned? While we welcome the fact that this is a joint Social Care and Health initiative, we have great concern about the location. Based on the limited information I have, on average clients would have to travel 10 minutes longer at off-peak times with 15 having an increase in travel time each way of more than 15 minutes. In reality this is likely to be longer - for one client to travel from home to AOC would take 40 minutes at off peak times but 90 minutes at rush hour. Ideally we would like to see one facility in the South of the county and another in the north. The proposals are based on the Orchard House plans for a twelve bedded unit split between PMLD clients and clients with challenging behaviour. Parents at the consultation meetings at Seeleys unanimously opposed the proposals.


Our second concern is the impact on the Seeleys site. When Orchard House was being discussed there was a coherent plan for both Respite and the Day Service. However BCC have insisted that Seeleys House day centre is not part of the present 'Residential Short Breaks’ consultation exercise. But in the Cabinet paper proposing the consultation it was stated that “People at both Aylesbury and Seeleys Day Opportunity Centres whose needs can only be met through a building based service will be supported to access a similar alternative, either from another provider or from one of the other existing Council opportunity centres e.g. Buckingham, Burnham or Chesham.” You can draw your own conclusions.


Thirdly the proposals are based on limited information – for example we haven’t seen any projections of the likely future demand for the service and where these people are based; BCC don’t yet know which part of AOC will be demolished, there is no information on the impact on the Day Services; the Short Breaks Policy (which this proposal should comply with) will not be finalised until after the end of this consultation. It is also against the council policy of bringing services nearer to the people.


These concerns have been shared with others including BCC, Healthwatch Bucks and the Health and Social Care Scrutiny committee. Roy Hurd met his County Councillor, Cllr Isobel Darby, whose ‘patch’ includes Seeleys. She has urged as many of us as possible to write to our councillors.  It need not be more than a short e-mail if you wish. If you do so please could you let Isobel know (and tell her who they are so that she can contact them). Her email is


22:31, 26 Feb 2019 by Tim Addison

A letter went out to families on 10 January  about the consultation on a proposal to rebuild part of the relatively new Aylesbury Opportunity Centre as a 12 bed Short Breaks (Respite) service jointly with Health and Social Care. It will have a nursing registration (so at long last CHC funded families will again have a place to go). It is not yet known who will run the service.

 BCC have set up four "events" to tell you about their plans. 





23 January 2019

7pm - 9pm

Seeleys House

24January 2019

1pm - 3pm

Seeleys House

28January 2019

10am - 2pm

Aylesbury Opportunities Centre

4February 2019

6pm - 8pm

Aylesbury Opportunities Centre

26 February 2019

10am - 12pm

Seeleys Respite


If you cannot get to an event you can:

Unlike the consultation on the Short Breaks Strategy and Policy there will be no questionnaire for this consultation. The planned timescale is that AOC would close in August this year for 12 months and that the Short Breaks service would transfer from Seeleys in August 2020.

 While the letter is headed "Residential Short Breaks Consultation - move to Aylesbury Opportunities Centre (AOC)." the implication of the relocation of Seeleys Respite is the closure of Aylesbury Opportunity Centre (for a year) and of Seeleys Day.The BCC Cabinet paper proposing this consultation  talked about the Seeleys site being worth £4.5m which of course can only be realised if the Day Centre is also closed, something that we have been fighting ever since the "Having a Good Day" consultation in 2010. Then two years ago the move of both Day and Respite Services to the Orchard House site was proposed and we did our best to ensure that it was an adequate or better replacement for both services. The current information is very vague about what happens for Day centre clients. The Cabinet paper merely said that people who need a building based service "will be supported to access a similar alternative".


So far BCC have been unable to tell me whether or not there would be any separate consultation over what happens to Seeleys Day Centre and its clients or whether they expect it to be adequately covered in this consultation. The fact that the e-mail contact for comments is shortbreaks@bcc suggests not.


12:47, 13 Jan 2019 by Tim Addison

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