Bourne day care centre’s concern over funding cuts

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A POPULAR day care centre says it is facing an uncertain future because of funding cuts.

The Butterfield Centre is a lifeline for many pensioners who enjoy a hot meal and company at the site in North Road, Bourne.

But the centre’s trustees and its fundraising group have a difficult road ahead as funding from the Government is set to be cut and could dry up entirely.

The day care centre costs £97,000 a year to run with money coming from Government grants and charges paid by pensioners to attend. Fundraising and donations also help the centre pay for one-off items.

This year the centre received, through Lincolnshire County Council, £40,000. However that is expected to drop by about 15 per cent in the next financial year. In 2012/13 it will drop to a maximum of £20,000 and by 2014 could disappear entirely.

The funding is being cut because the Government is changing the way it supports elderly and disabled people.

Instead of funding services, the Government is giving people personal budgets, the amount depending on an assessment, so they can pay for services directly.

Deputy chairman of the trustees Jenny Peel said: “The situation we find ourselves in is very complicated and we are doing all we can to make ends meet so we can keep the Butterfield Centre going.

“The trustees, I can promise you, will be doing everything they possibly can to keep it going.

“I can’t stand here and say everything is alright because we really don’t know.”

The centre is manned by 11 staff members and a team of volunteers who provide vital care and support for up to 22 elderly people a day.

Services provided by the Butterfield include transport, fresh hot meals and social activities. It can also provide help with bathing.

Pensioners were paying £10 a day to attend but the charge will be rising to £15 in January.

Mrs Peel said: “Our problem is keeping the day-to-day costs at a reasonable and affordable level.”

The centre is also home to the town’s meals on wheels service and runs a domestic help service.

Bourne Town Council will be giving the Butterfield a £2,500 grant and the centre has also received support from Witham Hall School and numerous charities in the town.

Mrs Peel said: “We are very lucky that we get a lot of support from the people of Bourne.”

County council head of adult and children’s commissioning Richard Collins said: “The funding arrangements around providing care services are changing as personal budgets are being adopted nationally.

“Lincolnshire is no different to other parts of the country in introducing personal budgets which give people choice and control over the services they receive and can access.

“Once people have been assessed as eligible for support they receive funding from the county council and then choose how to spend that on the services they want to meet their needs.

“This means a move away from contracted services and we understand the challenges and difficulties this presents to some providers.

“They will be selling their services directly to people who need them rather than to the local authority - if they provide good quality, value for money services then there is no reason why they can’t retain and attract customers and develop their business.”