Who cares for our el­derly?

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

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.



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