Marlborough’s Jubilee Centre that provides hot food and a safe, caring environment for people over sixty, and the New Road Centre that offers a safe and friendly place for vulnerable adults mostly with learning difficulties, have heard this week that from 1 June 2019 Wiltshire Council is cutting their grants.
Sally Wolfenden is Chair of the Jubilee Centre: “I received a letter from Wiltshire Council on Monday, telling me that from June 1 our Community Day Service Grant will be cut by 30 per cent – from £30,000 to £21,000. There has been no warning and it’s such a large amount.”
“It’s a very worrying situation. We function very economically already. It’s hard to see how we can make more economies in order to stay open.”
“I am very worried about the future. I was told in the letter that Marlborough Area Board will be taking over from Wiltshire Council. However, after fourteen phone calls to the Community Engagement Manager for the Marlborough Area Board, I have still had no response.”
The Jubilee Centre offers day care sessions with food on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and drop in lunch days on Wednesdays and Thursdays for older people right across the Marlborough area. It also organises meals on wheels for those unable to travel to the centre.
The New Road centre, which caters for around fifty-five people a week and has been open for over thirty years, has had all of its grant from Wiltshire Council cut. It is reported it will have to close.
The letter from Wiltshire Council states: “As you will be aware Wiltshire Council is experiencing unprecedented financial challenges as the government has continued to make cuts with funding. The increased demand for statutory services has meant that the council has had to make some difficult decisions to ensure that it can continue to support the most vulnerable people in our community.”
“Unfortunately members have had to take the difficult decision to decrease your community day service grant.”
Marlborough.news asks the question: How much is being saved in the long run if support for those who need it is cut? Sally concurs: “We actually save the NHS, the police and the GP surgery time and money by supporting the elderly and those in need.”
The Town Mayor, Councillor Lisa Farrell, has responded to the cuts: “Whilst I appreciate that Wiltshire Council is receiving less money from central government and having to concentrate on its statutory services, it’s hugely disappointing that it has cut funding to the New Road and Jubilee Centres.”
“These are both run by volunteers and provide lifelines to our elderly and vulnerable. They actually help local authorities to save money by providing a vital service that might otherwise have to be provided by the Council.”
“What’s also frustrating is that these groups only received notice of the cuts a few days ago so there was no forewarning to enable them to look for funding elsewhere. I’m hoping that Wiltshire Council will now do some handholding to help them find alternative grants.”