Charity to open new day centre for elderly in Stamford

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A NEW day centre for the elderly is to open in Stamford.

Age UK is setting up shop in the John Van Geest wing of Stamford Hospital. Its new centre, which is scheduled to open in January. will offer a range of services for older people.

The charity has been trying to set up a centre for the elderly in the town since it took on the former Darby and Joan Club building in North Street about 10 years ago.

It had planned to refurbish the dilapidated building, but found the cost too much and sold it on.

Chief executive of Age UK Kesteven, Valerie Vowles, said: “We have been desperate to find a home in Stamford ever since we sold the old building.

“Money from the old building is for Stamford, and we are thrilled to be able to set up the centre.”

The new centre will provide care for elderly people with a variety of needs, whether they require specialist care or are just in search of some company.

Exercise classes will be offered as part of Age UK’s Fit as a Fiddle project. People with full-time carers will be able to use a safe harbour service, so carers can attend hospital appointments or other commitments.

And free information and advice will be available at the centre, along with access to all the services the charity offers.

The centre should be open five days a week, and will be able to cater for 14 users per day.

Mrs Vowles added: “We want to make it as inclusive as possible and are working in close partnership with the hospital. We are managing their information services for them, which has proved very popular and we are thrilled.

“We also made a commitment to the Darby and Joan Club to run a social event, so it is important to honour that. We are going to look around Stamford and see the best day to do that.”

The charity also hopes to provide dementia care at the centre once it has opened.

This will come as good news to the users of the Stamford Day Centre in Ryhall Road, which could face closure as Lincolnshire County Council looks to cut costs. The centre cares for older people living on their own, dementia sufferers and younger people with physical disabilities.

The council is currently consulting on proposals to move care users on to the personal budget scheme, which gives them control of their own publicly-funded care grant.

The proposals would see Stamford Day Centre closed, along with Stamford and Bourne Learning Disability Services in Abbey Road, Bourne.

But Mrs Vowles said the Age UK centre was supposed to complement existing services in Stamford, not replace them.

She said any closures would very short-sighted.

“Facilities are needed and there is an expectation that the voluntary and commercial sector will pick up the slack. It is bad if any service for old people is taken away. They need support. There are more of them and more needing support for a range of reasons. We are all living longer.”

The new centre will be holding taster sessions in the run up to opening next year.