A SOUTHAMPTON respite centre which was shut has re-opened full time and could provide more services in the future.

Kentish Road Respite Centre was closed by Southampton City Council (SCC) in 2017.

Following months of protest and a partial council u-turn in June last year, the centre re-opened at weekends.

But now the authority said it has re-opened full time and plans to expand services at the Shirley-based centre will be discussed by cabinet members later this year.

The news has been welcomed by campaigners who had previously blasted as “disgraceful” the time it has taken SCC to restore the care facility to a seven days-a-week service.

Amanda Guest, who was one of the figureheads of the campaign to reopen the centre, said: “It’s like a breath of fresh air. It’s nice to see the group of service users all back together. I’m satisfied that the council finally re-opened it. It’s definitively a victory, a cause for celebration. ”

As reported, Ms Guest and other campaigners organised marches, protests and petitions.

SCC said in the future Kentish Road respite centre may provide more services to help people with learning disability.

This could include more housing and services that would help people live independently. The authority has consulted with carers and stakeholders and said an architect has prepared various options for how new services could be provided at the site. Cllr Lorna Fielker, cabinet member for adult care at SCC, said: “We have listened to carers and stakeholders in the city and, after careful consideration, decided to make Kentish Road available seven days a week. This willmeet the needs of carers and individuals living with learning disabilities at Kentish Road. We will continue to develop services delivered at the centre, in partnership with people who use the service, their families and our partners.”