Cuffley carers fight for day centre to stay open
Danny Loo Photography 2017
A group of Cuffley carers are starting their own charity in a bid to keep their beloved day centre open.
Charlie Barrie, 68, of Station Road, and four others are fighting to keep the Cuffley Day Centre service going after it was announced last month that it would be closing on January 19, leaving a number of people jobless.
The decision was made by national disability charity Leonard Cheshire (LCD) after it pulled out from its contract for the services in August due to a review where the charity decided to focus on people with disabilities.
The group, including four carers, met with a member of Hertfordshire County Council on Friday, November 10, to see if the council could offer them the same funding they were offering LCD.
HCC were providing LCD with the funding to run the centre by giving them £60,409 a year, Mr Barrie and his group are certain they will be able to run the centre with this figure.
Mr Barrie, whose wife has Alzheimer’s, said: “We are very, very serious about starting this charity and are going through the process right now.
“We all care about the day centre and its staff so much and want to see it stay open.
“We feel we can continue running it if HCC provide us with the same funding they provided LCD.”
Following a Freedom of Information request by Mr Barrie to HCC, it was revealed that Age UK had been interested in taking over the centre but ultimately decided against doing so.
The answer from HCC read: “Age UK undertook a detailed business planning and budget exercise and reluctantly concluded that they could not run the equivalent service for the contract amount being offered by the county council.”
The county council also said that it is facing significant funding challenges and is therefore unable to offer any more to an alternative provider than the £60,409 originally budgeted for Leonard Cheshire.
An HCC spokesman said: “We can confirm that the value of the contract between Hertfordshire County Council and Leonard Cheshire Disability to support Cuffley Day Centre was £60,409 per year.
“Given the current financial pressures on the provision of services we do not feel it is justifiable to offer more than this to new providers.
“This is obviously a factor in finding an alternative supplier to run the centre.”