Friday, 22 September 2017

Cuts hit day care service

A DAY care service which helps elderly people with dementia is cutting the number of sessions and increasing its daily rate.

The Bluebells Community Club, which currently runs four days a week at the Christ Church Centre Henley, will meet for just two days a week from next month. Sessions will now be held on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 2pm and cost £17.50, a rise of 50 per cent, although this includes lunch.

The changes have been made by the charity Age UK Oxfordshire in the wake of cuts made by Oxfordshire County Council, which is responsible for adult social care. The authority has cut grants to 47 day schemes, which used to receive an annual share of a £992,000 fund but this has been reduced to two grant “pots” totalling £250,000 per year. The council has also set up a £98,000 “transition” fund.

A council spokesman said: “There are around 200 voluntary sector day care providers in Oxfordshire. Around 75 per cent, or 150 of these, do not receive grant funding from the county council yet they thrive regardless.

“Of the remainder that have received grant funding, the council has awarded significant sums in transitional funding to help in the short to medium term. We are investing in support for the voluntary sector and especially in transition to a new model.”

Ruth Swift, head of community development for Age UK Oxfordshire, said: “In the face of significant cuts to adult social care, Age UK Oxfordshire is really pleased to have found a way to keep the Bluebells provision going.

“We have had to reduce the number of days the centre is open and increase the cost of attending. However, we have also increased the number of spaces that are available.”

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