Day centre for elderly closes after 38 years
Church changes forces group’s exit
VOLUNTEERS have closed a day centre for elderly people who need special care because of changes implemented by a church.
The Wednesday Club, an Age Concern group at Gold Hill Baptist Church hall in Chalfont St Peter, has served the community for 38 years.
The church in Gold Hill East will launch a larger seniors club from 10.30am to 2pm on Wednesday, September 24.
However, volunteers say the scheme is not suitable for their members, many of whom have the beginnings of dementia.
Volunteer of 14 years, Christine Bailie, said: “Over the years the Wednesday Club has been the highlight of the week for many guests.
“The proposed changes that the church was seeking were felt by all the volunteers to be incompatible with the complex needs of the regular guests.”
Mrs Bailie feels her club, which has longer hours and fewer members, is better suited to care for its members than the new group. She is part of a team of 21 volunteers who took care of 19 elderly people.
The church told the club it would need to find alternative premises.
The club held its last meeting on August 27 and has since searched for another community venue but so far none has been able to offer a full day.
The volunteers provide a full day of care to give families looking after the elderly people some respite and to encourage members to familiarise themselves with helpers.
Mrs Bailie added: “Our eldest guest was 99 and it would have been very special to have had our first centenarian after all these years.”
Mrs Bailie and Barbara Herod, who has been lead volunteer for the past 20 years, thanked all the helpers, members and their families who have supported the group.
Gold Hill pastor James Simmons says the church is ‘community-minded’, adding: “One of the huge needs that has been highlighted is that of a real sense of loneliness among seniors.
“We use our facilities carefully and want to see that need met.
“We are really pleased that all the people that were at the day centre group have been invited to the new seniors’ day and many of them have taken up that opportunity.”
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