Brandon day centre to stay open after new care provider is found

Brandon Day Care Centre is to stay open after Suffolk County Council found a new provider. Town coun

Brandon Day Care Centre is to stay open after Suffolk County Council found a new provider. Town councillor Reg Silvester and trustee of Brandon Community Association Denise Williams were among those appealing to keep the service open. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

A community is breathing a sigh of relief after a valuable day care centre was saved from closure.

Brandon Day Care Centre was expected to close at the end of the year after service manager Orbit announced it was no longer economically viable.

However, after an uprising from the community – which raised £250,000 to build the centre – social enterprise provider Empanda has announced it will take on the running of the service from January 1, 2017.

Following negotiations with Suffolk County Council, Empanda agreed to continue offering care for vulnerable people and respite for carers at the centre in Warren Road. It also plans to open a community café and meeting rooms and to offer apprenticeships to young people.

Beccy Hopfensperger, the county council's cabinet member for adult care, said: 'We understand Empanda's approach will be focussed on delivering services in a sustainable way with a greater emphasis on community working in the future.

'We are pleased that there will be no break in service as a result of this negotiation. We are happy to be working with Empanda to enable future sustainability of the centre.'

West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock said: 'The centre is a vital asset to those vulnerable people who use it as well as for carers who occasionally might require respite care for their loved ones. The new plan for greater use by the community is also to be welcomed.

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'Congratulations for a job well done to those who raised money to have the centre built in the first place, to those who campaigned and fought so hard to find a new operator so that the centre may continue to serve the people of Brandon and many thanks to Suffolk County Council for saving it.'

However, Brandon town councillor Reg Silvester was more reserved in his assessment of the new provider.

'We are not certain how they are going to turn it around. I am not sure that there is a long term solution, but I pray there is because the people using the centre need it and want it.'

Mr Silvester raised questions about the affordability of care offered by Empanda, as no pricing had yet been discussed.

'I know it gives the carers some relief, but having to pay for care may cause them aggravation somewhere else if they cannot afford it.'

What are your thoughts on Brandon Day Care Centre's rescue? Email

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