Human cost of council cuts

PENSIONER Olive Kistruck is worried.She looks forward to her visit to Hadleigh's Angel Court day care centre every week, but next year that will change.

PENSIONER Olive Kistruck is worried.

She looks forward to her visit to Hadleigh's Angel Court day care centre every week, but next year that will change.

Because the centre, like all day care centres run by Suffolk County Council, will be closed.

Mrs Kistruck is an example of the human cost of council cuts.

Although there are no definite plans about what service will replace Angel Court day care centre when it closes by next June, Mrs Kistruck, and other users are concerned she may have to travel to Stutton once a week instead of travelling down the road.

The 87-year-old widow said: “It's something I look forward to every week.

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“I've made friends there and the staff are great.

“If I don't go I'll feel like I'm just in the house all the time.”

Grandmother Mrs Kistruck, who used to work at Hadleigh's Brett Works site, said she is now worried that once the centre closes she will be left without an alternative in the town she has lived in all her life.

She said staff at the centre have indicated one of the options when the centre clloses will be to send users to Oak House in Stutton - 13 miles away.

However Suffolk County Council, which runs Angel Court, say this will be unlikely.

Mrs Kistruck, who knits clothes for an orphanage in Romania from her Long Bessels home when she is not with her friends at the centre, added: “It felt terrible when we were told and I wish I knew what was going to happen for definite now.

“It's about prioritising costs but all the spending cuts on elderly people's service doesn't make me happy.

“We deserve more now - I didn't think we would be treated like this in our old age.”

Are you worried about the planned cuts to social services? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail

The council's response

Suffolk County Councillor Graham Newman, portfolio holder for Adult and Community Services, said: “We are now changing the way we offer day activities for older people in Hadleigh, and for everyone who uses a county council day centre.

“We want to be able to offer people day services at weekends as well as weekdays, closer to home if at all possible, and perhaps with evening sessions as well.

“So what we plan to do is to find alternative day activities, perhaps completely new, or using some existing centres, for those people who use Angel Court for day care.

“The aim for Hadleigh is to have all this in place by the end of June next year, so we should have plenty of time to work with people at the day centre to make sure we can offer what they want.

“A big part of our plan is to cut down the amount of travelling people have to do to get to their day activities, so I very much doubt we will be asking many people to consider Oak House as an alternative to Angel Court - only perhaps those who come from that direction.”

What is it all about?

For too long the older generation has been overlooked as people suffer care homes closing, dwindling pensions, hospital wards closing, and not enough carers in the community.

The Evening Star's Golden Years series aims to make sure that the older years really are Golden Years.

We will:

Listen to our older generation.

Fight for dignity in old age.

Make sure older people get the voice they need to raise the topics that matter to them.

Crusade on issues affecting pensioners.

Inform older people about the help and assistance available for them.

Dig out those inspirational stories that show old age need not be the barrier to a fulfilled and active life.

Champion achievement