THE daughter of a Stevenston man who has dementia has spoken out after a day service he uses was forced to close following a fire.

Linda Beattie, whose 87-year-old dad James Elliott, pictured, attends Thistle Day Service twice a week, said that her dad’s social life has been all but taken away with the temporary closure.

She chatted to us following our exclusive story last week which highlighted that the service could be shut for up to two months.

Linda praised staff there and now hopes if anyone is caught, they will be made to work with older people in the community as a punishment to see the impact the fire has had.

She said: “It is a great social place and before dad’s dementia really kicked in he joined in with everything and made new friends. He goes twice a week and it is really for the social aspect, it is the only thing he does.

“He used to be very active through golf, going out driving, visiting people and that was even more important after my mum died 14 years ago.

“At the group they would sing songs, take part in quizzes and play games like dominoes but it was the interaction and socialising that became most important.”

Damage caused by the fire means that it is not safe for staff or service users to be in the Stevenston building and the routine is one of the key things, especially for James.

Linda added: “He knows he has the club, it really is a lifeline for him, we can’t always be there so it is his social life.

“The staff there are so nice, they really are worth their weight in gold and they are great with dad.”

North Ayrshire Council are trying to tackle the issues caused by the closure but the long-term plans are not yet known.

Linda said: “They have made interim arrangements but because they have an alternative this week doesn’t mean they will have next week.

“It is really devastating for us. Some days are worse than others but it always seemed that he was more stimulated when he was at the club.”

Linda said she hopes that the people responsible are caught.

She said: “We are angry and upset about it and to think that the people in the centre do so much and they have the place vandalised.

“If they do catch them, whoever it is, I would like to see them get some community service and into these places.

“This could be their parents or grandparents that are missing out and they would see how valued it is for families.”

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership said: “We have been working incredibly hard to ensure that vital services provided to our residents can be maintained following the fire at the Thistle Day Care Centre.

“In the days immediately after the fire, Day Centre staff visited people who use the centre and carried out vital services in their homes.

“Arrangements have now been made with day-services sites in the Three Towns, Irvine and the Garnock Valley localities to ensure those who visited the Thistle Day Care Centre can now use these facilities.

“If an individual has indicated they would prefer to receive outreach as opposed to travelling to an alternative site, that will be accommodated too.”