A father who has been providing round the clock care for his severely disabled son was delighted to hear respite and care centres will reopen soon.
Allan Birrell, 60, lives alone with his son Christopher, 34, who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair.
Allan said he and his son have felt like prisoners in their Dundee home for more than a year, as Christopher has been unable to attend the White Top Centre for adult care.
Before the first lockdown Christopher attended the Westfield Avenue centre five days a week but when it closed last March there was nowhere for him to go.
It also meant there was no respite for Allan, who provides 24-hour care for his son.
Now Dundee City Council has announced the White Top will partially reopen in May.
Allan said: “This is the news I have been asking and waiting for.
“It’s a year later than I expected but it’s fantastic to hear that hopefully Christopher will get back to White Top very soon.
“It has made life very difficult for both Christopher and myself.
“We have pretty much been stuck at home all that time. It’s like being a prisoner in our own home.”
The centre did not reopen during easing of restrictions last summer.
Allan said as well as the pressure he has been under without a break, it has left Christopher feeling isolated.
“For me it has meant no respite from constantly looking after Christopher and for him it means he has pretty much seen no one all that time,” he said.
“I need to keep him entertained, which is hard. I’ve spent hundreds of pounds on special needs toys.
“I also have to do physiotherapy with him to make sure he is calm and relaxed.
“He desperately misses his friends and the staff and is finding it increasingly difficult.”
In January health secretary Jeane Freeman announced adult day centres could continue to operate during lockdown if they were deemed essential for wellbeing.
Ken Lynn, chairman of the Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership Integration Joint Board, asked service users and their carers to be patient.
“I am are pleased to announced that we are on the way to fully reopening respite and day care centres in Dundee,” he said.
“I understand how incredibly difficult is has been for carers over the course of the pandemic.
“The safety of service users and staff has been at the forefront of any decision made and it is only because of the vaccine roll out and the low number of cases that we are in a position to begin to reopen them.
“I would urge those that usually use these centres to be patient, they are only open in a limited capacity at the moment for those most vulnerable.
“We hope to be able to announce the full reopening of these centres in due course and will continue to keep families and individuals updated.”
The White Top is part of a phased reopening of day care and respite centres across the city.
The Turriff Intermediate Care suite reopened this week and can support emergency respite for people with dementia.
It is hoped if the number of coronavirus cases in the city continues to fall, the centres can reduce restrictions in place.
A council spokeswoman said: “We plan to begin to open day and respite services for adults out of the White Top in May.
“We will continue to update individuals and their families on progress.”