Wells day centre for elderly under threat
PUBLISHED: 10:02 07 November 2009 | UPDATED: 10:59 07 July 2010
Managers of an elderly day centre in Wells said the service could survive council funding cuts - but a "penny-pinching" withdrawal of bus links could still force its closure.
Managers of an elderly day centre in Wells said the service could survive council funding cuts - but a “penny-pinching” withdrawal of bus links could still force its closure.
The centre at The Maltings is one of many whose service contracts are set to be discontinued as part of sweeping cuts aimed at saving Norfolk County Council more than £10m in social services spending.
Lynette Andrews, who has run the Wells and District Day Centre for 15 years, said she understood the reason for the cuts as the centre does not provide a specialist social care service.
But although confident she could continue without the council grants, she said the centre's main threat was the proposed cutbacks to the Social Services bus which brings many of her members from outlying villages.
A county council spokesman said budget pressures meant resources had to be targeted where most needed, and that other voluntary services could help with transport to Wells.
Mrs Andrews said: “I am not protesting the loss of our funding as I believe that we may be able to manage without the grant we have been receiving. I am, however, extremely upset that Norfolk County Council is also withdrawing the use of its Social Services bus. Without transport we will, without doubt, be forced to close.
“We are only a small centre but we have 28 people who come here to play music and have a laugh. I have at least eight members who are over 90 and they are very reliant on the social interaction that they receive every Wednesday. I understand the reason for the cuts, but to stop our bus as well is just penny-pinching.”
The bus currently runs four days a week, serving Hunstanton, Wells, Fakenham and Holt.
David Harwood, cabinet member for Adult Social Services, said: “Adult Social Services is facing cost pressures of £15.9m in the coming year, forcing us to make some very difficult decisions.
“It is not our statutory duty to provide transport and we must concentrate our resources on providing high quality care. Voluntary Norfolk and Age Concern Norfolk provide a range of support for voluntary day centres and we have recommended that Wells and District Day Centre contact them to see what support can be offered with transport.”