Fears for day care centre

DOZENS of pensioners could be left without their day care centre after a decision to turn their meeting place into offices.For 33 years the Thorntree Day Centre has operated out of the Milton House complex in Stowmarket, providing a meeting place for pensioners and a two-course lunch four days a week.

DOZENS of pensioners could be left without their day care centre after a decision to turn their meeting place into offices.

For 33 years the Thorntree Day Centre has operated out of the Milton House complex in Stowmarket, providing a meeting place for pensioners and a two-course lunch four days a week.

But Milton House, also home to Stowmarket Town Council, is set to undergo a major facelift and the team behind the project have come to the conclusion that the area used by the day centre will be needed for office space, leaving the charitable service homeless.

The council has offered to help re-home the day centre operation at an alternative site in the town, but the dedicated team of volunteers behind it feel the move may have a “devastating impact” on its future.

Stephen Thompson, who helps run the day centre, spoke out at recent Stowmarket Town Council meeting and pointed out they had not been involved in any discussion about the centre's future.

He said: “ “It is with all this uncertainty and no formal contact that I am asking you for clarification of the Thorntree Day Centre position regarding its present accommodation - we do not want to fail the elderly and frail community.”

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The Milton House Refurbishment Project Group said it had given consideration to the future use of the Milton House accommodation in the light of the needs of all of the current users and given the limited space available the group came to the conclusion that these needs could only be physically met by using Milton House for office space.

He said: “This conclusion was presented to full council on June 24 and was fully endorsed by the town council, subject to the group working closely with the Thorntree Day Centre to find alternative accommodation.”

A council spokesman added: “In addition, the project group is seeking to fit in the refurbishment work with these possibilities of alternative accommodation so that there may be continuous provision of the centre services at the Thorntree or elsewhere.

“The town council is very mindful of the benefits provided by the centre and wishes to work with it to help the older people it serves and also provide the currently unmet demand for such a facility.”

n. Are you affected by the move? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk