Saturday, 21 April 2018

Centre to stay open for now

PLANS to move Watlington’s drop-in centre for the elderly have been sidelined after more than 200 people opposed the idea.

Watlington and District Age Concern, which runs the service, wanted to end its lease on premises in High Street and move to the West Room at Old School Place, where it already holds its Thursday Club.

The charity said it could no longer afford both venues with rent and and running costs totalling £6,800 per per year.

However, it has now put relocation on hold following a protest petition started by resident Jane Beard.

Trustee Nicky Smallbone, said that the charity might launch a membership scheme instead.

She said: “At least if they are members they are more likely to use it. You could have children’s parties there. The landlord has also agreed not to put the rent up, which is very kind.”

In August Oxfordshire County Council cut its £16,000 annual funding for the centre. It has offered a £4,000 “transition grant” to help the service find other ways of staying open.

The West Room is managed by Watlington Parish Council and Soha.

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