Who cares for our elderly?
IMPACT: (Above) Chesham town councillor Derek Lacey; (below) members of the Wednesday Club at Gold Hill Baptist Church hall
LAST week we reported that the 30-year-old daycare facility at The Douglas McMinn Centre, in East Street, Chesham, will close on Friday, October 31, after its trustees said they can no longer subsidise the care provided at the same level, with a ‘reduced number’ of clients attending.
The closure will mean there will be no daycare centre for the elderly in the town.
Meanwhile, in nearby Chalfont St Peter, The Wednesday Club, an Age Concern group at Gold Hill Baptist Church hall, which has served the community for 38 years, closed because the church launched a larger seniors club, from 10.30am to 2pm yesterday (Wednesday).
Volunteers say the new scheme is not suitable for their members, many of whom are in the early
Chief executive of Age UK Bucks, Giulia Johnson, is concerned about the closures and worried about what the future holds for the county’s elderly.
She said: “It’s sad to see daycare closures and, for those who use them and their carers it is devastating, but I can fully understand why such closures occur. Daycare is extremely expensive to provide.
“I think it’s the single most important social care issue that the western world faces. And there are no easy answers.”
Chesham town councillor Derek Lacey, who raised nearly £11,000 for the Douglas McMinn Centre during his mayoral term in 2011/12 and is a committee member of Chesham Over 50s Positive Action Group, thinks Bucks County Council’s £64million worth of cuts from 2010 to 2014 is now having an impact on the county’s elderly, after some of their services were cut.
He said: “It’s all very well having cuts but are they cutting the right people? You shouldn’t touch the elderly.
“If you were not on benefits, you had to pay £47 a day to attend the Douglas McMinn Centre, whereas before the council used to subsidise it.
“I think Douglas McMinn [who built the centre in 1979] would be turning in his grave if he could see what’s happened.”
Bucks County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Tricia Birchley, said: “We’ll be working closely with the centre and talking to everyone to find the right way forward.”
The club’s volunteers, led by Barbara Herod who has been with the group since 1980, did not want to close the club but there was no suitable weekly slot at potential alternative venues, such as local churches, halls and community centres.
Mrs Herod said: “All members of The Wednesday Club were given an invite to join the new group, although all the uncertainty and the lack of details caused much distress and upset
LOOKING Tricia Birchley guests.
“We’re not sure of the take-up when the new club starts but we have encouraged our guests to give it a try.”
She added: “We’re very sorry to hear of the closures of other much needed facilities, particularly for those with more complex issues as opposed to drop-in/coffee groups.
“From our experience it’s more specialised, longer facilities that seem to be in short supply rather than one or two-hour sessions.”
Have you been affected by this issue? Call 01895 451 034 or email bucksnews@trinitysouth. co.uk.