Weekend services at Saffron Walden day centre to be cut

PUBLISHED: 07:44 25 February 2010 | UPDATED: 22:10 31 May 2010

Robert Chambers is the Conservative Cllr for Wendon Lots and County Cllr for Saffron Walden.

Robert Chambers is the Conservative Cllr for Wendon Lots and County Cllr for Saffron Walden.

ELDERLY people will suffer if a Saffron Walden day care centre goes ahead with plans to cut its services, a concerned son believes. The weekend service offered at Saffron Day Care Centre in Four Acres, which is funded by Essex County Council (ECC), looks

ELDERLY people will suffer if a Saffron Walden day care centre goes ahead with plans to cut its services, a concerned son believes.

The weekend service offered at Saffron Day Care Centre in Four Acres, which is funded by Essex County Council (ECC), looks set to be dropped.

The decision would mean that some vulnerable people could be left isolated on weekends and that staff at the centre will lose their jobs or face a cut in hours.

Concerned son Ian Millar, whose 83-year-old mother has attended the day care centre for the past three years, said: "This service is vital for many elderly people in the town and I would fight any decision to see it reduced.

"My mother, Sylvia, attends the centre for four days a week and without it she would be stuck in her home in Littlebury with only the TV for company.

"I work full time as a lorry driver, so I can't care for my mother all the time. It's a huge pressure off me to know that she is being well looked after during the day.

"The service that is provided by the staff is excellent - they are not just carers they are friends."

The day centre is part of the Stanley Wilson Lodge care home, run by Excelcare, which has recently undergone an 18-month renovation programme.

As well as cutting the weekend opening hours, the capacity of the day care centre will be cut from 20 users to 15. Although there are only 15 elderly people who use the service currently, this is not for lack of demand. The Reporter has been told that there is a waiting list of people who want to use the centre at all times of the week.

The centre caters for vulnerable people over the age of 65 who still live in their own homes. It is the only service of its kind in Saffron Walden with the next nearest being in Stansted or Thaxted.

Essex County Councillor Robert Chambers said: "It's not about making cuts it's about looking at the demand that's there.

"If there are only four people who want to use the day care centre during the weekend then it makes it extremely difficult to continue the service from a financial point of view.

"The old Stanley Wilson Lodge never had more than 15 people who wanted to use the day care. However, I have spoken to Essex County Council and to Excelcare and agreed that if there is a demand for it, more funding will be provided."

An ECC spokesman said: "We have agreed to renew the contract with Excelcare to continue providing the Saffron day centre at Four Acres, Saffron Walden.

"We will be ceasing to commission the weekend service as this is not in high demand. This change will only affect a small number of people, and we will work with them to ensure their support needs are met.

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