Concerns have been raised that a shake-up of day care services could leave elderly people unable to access a much-loved social group.
A decline in funding as well as issues with facilities and staff training have forced The St John’s Club in Mildenhall to announce its closure after 27 years,
The club, run by Gatehouse, will relocate some services to Care UK’s new Mildenhall Lodge care home, opposite its current location in St John’s Close.
However these services will be suitable for only eight of the approximately 19 clients that regularly attend the club.
Carol Phillips’ mother Edna Butcher attends The St John’s Club. She said she is worried her mother will no longer be eligible to go to the club, which provides her with valuable opportunity to meet friends.
Carol said: “It’s the one thing that she looks forward to each week. They are very good, they always look after them and make them feel at home.”
Amanda Bloomfield, Gatehouse chief executive, said: “We are pleased we are able to use Care UK’s facilities to provide what we know is a reduced service.
“We were determined to find a solution to a difficult situation and continue to support users of Gatehouse services in Mildenhall.”
Users of Gatehouse’s current services pay £20 to attend the centre for up to four-and-a-half hours. Their new service will cost £15 for three hours.
Those clients who are not suitable to attend the new club will be offered an assessment by Suffolk County Council Social Services to determine their needs and their eligibility for funding.
The clients will have the option to attend Care UK’s Mildenhall Club, due to open in June, which will provide professional day care from nurses trained in looking after those with dementia and other progressive illnesses.
However four hours day care at the new centre will have a price tag of £36, almost double what clients have been paying at The St John’s Club.