SOCIAL work bosses have been given the green light to go ahead with the proposed closures of day centres for the elderly in the Borders.

But members of the local authority's Executive Committee have been assured that alternative activities and services are in place.

There was widespread anger earlier this year when we revealed that talks were ongoing to close the region's six day centres.

Family members of clients as well as staff have condemned the move.

Gunsgreen at Eyemouth has already shut, with Kelso Day Centre, Cheviot Day Centre in Jedburgh, Teviot Day Centre in Hawick, Oakview Day Centre in Galashiels, and Green Gardens in Peebles also earmarked for closure.

But social work chiefs believe an alternative method of providing services is the way forward.

Michael Curran, who is a programme manager within social work, said: "Despite significant increases in the numbers of older people living in our communities and accessing social care services, the volume of clients using day services has reduced in number from 240 in 2014/15 to 43 in 2019.

"While it may be appropriate to provide respite on traditional lines via social centres for the whole day, there is evidence to suggest that a broader range of options offering new activities provides better outcomes for the person and carers."

The phased programme of closures over the rest of 2019/20 will tie in with the formation of Local Coordination Teams, who are tasked with providing alternative services for each of the clients.

A spokeswoman for Scottish Borders Council explained: "Each locality will have a Local Area Co-ordination team consisting of local area co-ordinator and link workers.

"Local area co-ordinators engage with people and discuss what interests they have and what activities they would like to be involved in.

"Activities can range from pursuing an interest in fishing, attending a walking or gentle exercise group, through to attending a local soup and sandwich club.

"With their knowledge of the locality, local area co-ordinators build up a range of opportunities for older adults to get involved with and contribute to their local community.

"If they identify a gap in provision, they engage with partners to develop new ideas and groups that meet communities’ need."

It is expected that the closures will save Scottish Borders Council around £50,000 this year with future annual savings estimated to be around £300,000.