Charity chief's concern for services axe

VITAL services that provided important care to elderly people in Suffolk have been axed in the last year because of changes to funding, it has been claimed.

VITAL services that provided important care to elderly people in Suffolk have been axed in the last year because of changes to funding, it has been claimed.

Daphne Savage, chief executive of Age Concern Suffolk, outlines her concerns in the charity's Annual Review for 2006/07.

She said the last 12 months had been “a year of heartbreak versus hope” for the organisation and that a number of services had to be stopped because of budget changes at Suffolk County Council.

These closures included ACCESS teams in Ipswich and Halesworth to help people with dementia, the Friday Club and Chums day services in Sudbury and the Home from Home day service in north-east Suffolk where Age Concern employees invited elderly people into their home for one day a week.

Mrs Savage said: “The ACCESS teams were described by the county council has a gold star service but because they only served two areas of the county it was decided they couldn't continue.

“Unfortunately this is the type of service we should be spreading - not taking away. With an increasingly older population over the next decade dementia is not going to diminish - it's a growing problem.”

Most Read

She said day services had also been badly affected over the last year and a number had had to close because there was not enough money available.

“It not only means the elderly person is losing an opportunity to get out and about but it also means their carer doesn't get time to themselves and can't get out shopping, clean the house or do whatever it is they want to do,” Mrs Savage said.

Graham Newman, portfolio holder for adult and community services at Suffolk County Council, said the authority had actually invested over and above increases from national government.

He said: “What has happened is that the money the council receives from government, which funds the bulk of services we arrange, has not kept pace with the numbers of people who need our support. So while we have increased our spending, we have had to be rigorous in how we get the most care for most people, being fair to everyone and maintaining good quality.

“We have had to prioritise people who have substantial and critical needs. In a few cases this has meant we have had to stop paying for a service from Age Concern, and find a different way of supporting those with the severest need.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter