by Anood Al-Samerai on 11 February, 2011
Over the last couple of days I have been really moved by my visits to the day centre at Stones End and to the Irish Pensioners Project. These groups do not receive huge amounts of funding from the council, but they have just been told that they will lose 100% of their funding within 12 weeks. Labour has said that they will carry out a consultation about the future of these services, but how genuine can this really be when they have already decided to cut the funding?
To add insult to injury these day centres keep being described as ‘lunch clubs’ when in fact they do so very much more. When I visited the Black Elderly Group in Peckham a few weeks ago they explained that lunch is what brings people into their centre, but it is the ongoing support, advice and care for them and their families which is so crucial. Stability, security and human contact is what we all need at any times of our lives, but it is especially vital for older people, their health and wellbeing. These centres also give families much needed respite and are flexible enough to adapt to the needs of each individual.
It is tragic to think that these centres can close so quickly and I am determined to work with my Liberal Democrat colleagues to make the Labour cabinet understand how important these services are and change their decision. These centres are a lifeline for many of our most vulnerable residents and we must stand up for them. The biggest irony is that closing them will cost the council far more in the long run as it has to pick up the pieces.1 Comment