Volunteers campaign to save Welwyn Garden City day centre

VOLUNTEERS have launched a campaign to save a day centre for elderly people from closure, amid uncertainty about its future funding.

Services at Douglas Tilbe House have been in doubt ever since Welwyn Hatfield Council announced it was cutting �1.7m out of next year’s budget following Government spending cuts.

The facility, in Hall Grove, WGC, is high on the list of potential service cuts – especially since the council had to hand out an extra �30,000 in emergency funding to Age UK Hertfordshire, which manages the centre, in order to keep the facility running for a further 12 months.

Kitchen facilities have already been earmarked for the chop, with the Meals on Wheels service moving to another location.

And with the WHT revealing last month that Welwyn Hatfield Council was looking to cut a further �2m from next year’s budget, staff and charitable groups who regularly use the facility are fearing the worst.

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But now volunteers have called on borough councillors and Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps to help save the centre from total closure.

Mr Shapps visited the centre on Friday and spoke to volunteers and centre users, who presented the MP with a petition signed by 1,000 people.

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Mr Shapps thanked staff and volunteers for their work in keeping the centre running, and described Douglas Tilbe House as “an essential community facility.”

However, the housing and local government minister also stressed the need to cut the country’s massive deficit, and backed the council’s decision to cut kitchen facilities.

Volunteer Derek Pettit, who wrote to Mr Shapps asking for his assistance, said: “It would be dire for the people that go there and take part in a multitude of activities if it closed.

“They can do things that get them out of the house and living again, rather than rotting away at home.”

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