'It's a blow for the community' - Day centre closes after 43 years
- Credit: Emily Thomson
A town’s day centre which has cared for elderly residents for more than 40 years has been forced to close after struggling to make ends meet.
Wymondham Day Centre Association was first set up in 1978 as one of the first voluntary-run centres in the county.
But now the long-serving charity - formerly run by Mind - which has supported the elderly and carers in Wymondham has been forced to close its door for good.
Chair of the board of trustees, Sallie Colk, said after funding was cut from social services in 2012, the once voluntary organisation “had to run more like a business” and members were asked to pay fees.
Since then, as finances have continued to increase with insufficient members to break even and trustees who have passed away with no replacements stepping forward, Ms Colk said it was a decision they had to make.
“I was the manager from 1984 until 2011. Then when I retired, I became a trustee,” she said. “But at the end of my stint at the day centre the system changed.
“Social Services stopped giving us a quarterly grant which helped to pay for the centre. People then had to pay for the day care service.
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“So, it has been a struggle to build up enough numbers to cover our costs. Including rent and staff.
“Now the situation has arisen that we have literally run out of money and our trustee level is dangerously low.
“It’s devastating. But after closing during lockdown, we were forced to make a decision. We have given it an awful lot of thought and it comes with a heavy heart.”
But it’s not only the staff and trustee who will be affected by the closure, as manager Pearl Elvin, said it’s the town’s elderly community - especially those with dementia - who have lost a vital service, which helped them to keep their independence.
She said adult social services have been neglected for years.
“We supplied care and respite for residents and their careers,” she said.
“We brought people out of their homes, they had a day out with specialist care on site and a lovely meal cooked for them.
“But during lockdown many had to go into care homes and the minute you take their independence away it can be so devastating for them. We allowed them to stay in their homes for longer.
“It's a real blow for the community because there isn’t an alternative within Wymondham.”