Funding axed for club for elderly

A MUCH-loved club for elderly people with disabilities is to close after its funding was axed, it emerged today.The St Raphael Club in Ipswich has been serving the community for more than 17 years but swingeing cuts mean their county council grant is to be withdrawn, leaving them unable to afford to carry on running their day service.

A MUCH-loved club for elderly people with disabilities is to close after its funding was axed, it emerged today.

The St Raphael Club in Ipswich has been serving the community for more than 17 years but swingeing cuts mean their county council grant is to be withdrawn, leaving them unable to afford to carry on running their day service.

Eric Shields, chairman of the centre, said: “We have been running a day centre on behalf of social services for some 17 years but the council have now withdrawn our grant.

“We will no longer be funded by them and, therefore, we cannot carry on.”

The news comes just a day after The Evening Star revealed the increasing pressure on family carers as cuts to health and social services take hold.

The centre, in Highfield Road, currently runs sessions every Monday and Tuesday, and every other Thursday.

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It is hoped that they will be able to continue some kind of club once a week, but this would be done on a voluntary basis.

Mr Shields said: “Unfortunately, a lot of people will be disappointed.

“It's a very sad situation but we have no alternative.

“We were receiving around £24,000 a year from the council and we can't afford to continue without that.”

Dolly Garnham, 88, attends the club regularly. She said: “I'm devastated about this. It's the only time I come out during the week.

“I don't know what people are going to do now.”

Mr Shields said: “A lot of people are heartbroken about it.

“They can come here for a coffee, or sit and play cards with their friends. It's just a chance to meet up with others in the same situation.

“We will carry on until December and then try to run a few sessions on a voluntary basis after that, but it really depends on how many people are able to come and help us out.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We have given notice that we are no longer able to pay their grant. This will cease in December this year.

“Pressures on our budget mean we are having to review all of the day care that we buy and make savings where we can.

“In total, we need to save £800,000 on day care alone and we will be talking to everyone who attends this club to explain the situation and help them find alternatives.”

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