Dismay at two care centres' future prospects after Wiltshire Council cuts
Reaction to the ending of the Wiltshire Council grant to the New Road Day centre and the thirty per cent cut in the grant to the Jubilee Centre has been gaining momentum.
We have reported the reaction of the Town Mayor. Other town councillors are prevented from giving their views - other than in the Council Chamber.
Val Compton, a seasoned campaigner on such issues, has reacted strongly: "No notice, no consultation, no planning, no alternative provision, no safety net - NOTHING. Just notification your grant will be withdrawn in three months."
"Can you imagine what that news does to people who have run this service for 30 years? Then try and imagine what it does to vulnerable people whose rhythm of life could now be destroyed - the friendships, the love, the care, the activities, the outings, the support...and so much more removed."
Jeremy York was chairman of the Jubilee Centre for nine years - until last year. He told marlborough.news that they had coped with a previous ten per cent cut in the annual grant from Wiltshire Council: "But, thirty per cent? That's really quite devastating."
"We will do everything possible to keep the centre open."
However the alternatives look bleak. The centre has three salaried staff and relies on some 35 volunteers - including cooks. As regards safeguarding for the people who come to the Jubilee Centre, could they even think of cutting one of the salaried posts?
They could ask their 'customers' to pay more - but many simply could not afford any more. Or they could warn Wiltshire Council they may have to close.
Many of the people marlborough.news has spoken to emphasise the point that the two centres are preventing costs in other areas - in the NHS and in the Council's own adult care responsibilities: "These cuts are simply counter-productive."
Marlborough.news heard the story of one person who now comes to the Jubilee Centre five days a week. They started coming as they kept on passing out in the street - which involved a series of ambulance call outs. Now they come to the Centre the ambulance call outs have stopped.
Sandra Baker has explained what the ending the New Road Day centre's grant will mean: "Many of our clients have no families and rely on us for their socialisation and friendship. They will be left adrift and isolated."
"We will do our absolute best to find a way to keep the Centre running. We are an essential provider and feel passionately that we owe it to our members to keep on supporting them."
Another New Road Day Centre supporter said they were going to fight the decision. But if that failed they would 'go private'.
Several people have asked marlborough.news whether Wiltshire Councillors understand what these two centres actually do for vulnerable people in Marlborough and the surrounding area.
We have also been asked whether Wiltshire Council have attempted to cost the probable results of losing the services - not just in uspet and set-backs in health and wellbeing, but in terms of the money that will need to be spent by social services and the NHS to, as one person put it to us, 'pick up the pieces'.
We will try to find out. But staff at the Jubilee Centre are absolutely certain that in many cases they have saved older and sometimes very old people from needing hospitalisation.