Community run day centre in call for more users

Bucks Free Press: The day centre is calling for more users to help it thrive The day centre is calling for more users to help it thrive

A DAY centre which was taken over by the community is not being used to its full potential, according to the group that saved it from closure.

The Friends of Bourne End Day Centre stepped in last year to run the service after Bucks County Council threatened to sell the building.

The non-profit making group has brought in care providers the Fremantle Trust to run the centre and painstakingly refurbished it to offer the best possible environment for users.

But less than 12 months into a ten-year lease, The Friends are urging more people to get involved with activities or the service could struggle to break even.

Chairman Jim Penfold said: "We could have just run it with volunteers but we knew we had to get someone in if we wanted to run it properly.

"We thought it would take a year or so to get up and running, but Fremantle have to balance the books and I would hate to see them go. I don’t know what we would do then."

"It can be used for other community purposes but it would be a real shame if it wasn’t being used for the reasons it was intended to be.

"It is a question of use it or lose it. It was a great achievement for the community, and it would be a criminal shame if that were to happen."

The Day Centre on Wakeman Road was threatened with closure in 2010 when the council announced plans to close and sell the building.

This caused outrage in Bourne End after villagers raised £45,000 in the 1980s to help build the centre, which provides day care to the elderly and those with special needs.

Bucks County Council agreed last year to hand the building to The Friends on a 10-year lease at a peppercorn rent.

The deal also includes an option to buy it outright should the community raise the cash.

Carole Sawyers, Chief Executive of The Fremantle Trust, which provides the care at the centre, said: “We would like to reiterate that the services provided by FreTime Bourne End centre remain secure and the Trust is committed to ensuring local people can benefit from a wide range of activities.

"We are as passionate as The Friends of Bourne End about providing a valuable service at the centre and have already invested considerable funds into refurbishing the facility."

As well as providing care, entertainment, lunches and a social space, the day centre offers transport to users who are unable to travel there themselves.

Staff also run regular free taster sessions for people thinking of using getting involved with centre.

 

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