Fears over future of Welwyn Garden City elderly drop-in centre

PUBLISHED: 09:34 18 September 2013 | UPDATED: 10:21 18 September 2013

Joy Ashburn outside Douglas Tilbe House

Joy Ashburn outside Douglas Tilbe House

Archant

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to ‘save’ a Welwyn Garden City drop-in centre collected 48 signatures of support in just one day.

A recent cost-cutting change to food preparation at Douglas Tilbe House has sparked fears Age UK Herts may close the Hall Grove facility.

But the charity says the facility is not at risk of shutting.

The loss of catering facilities comes as rooms in the building have been let out to different organisations, and its council funding was cut.

Joy Ashburn, of Lumbards, in WGC, is leading the fight – which is backed by the Clients Committee for Douglas Tilbe.

She told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “They are quite angry. It has to stay open, if it is not there where do the elderly people go? They have got nothing.”

A petition being circulated by the group states: “Over the past few years funding from community grants has been cut back while services and hours of operation have reduced.

“There is now a real risk that this wonderful community facility that offers a social lifeline to so many older people could close altogether.

“All of us that use Douglas Tilbe House regularly would hate to see that happen.”

Age UK Herts say that there are no plans to close the facility and it is trying to keep it open, despite its funding being shorn.

Marion Birch, chief executive of the charity, told the WHT: “It doesn’t need saving at the moment.

“This is the first I have heard about it. At the moment we are still getting funding, it is not adequate funding, but it is funding from Welwyn Hatfield Council.

“We are still running it Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“We have just applied for the grant for next year, so I don’t know what the petition is about.”


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