Age Concern Woodley day centre coping well despite funding cutsBy Jon Nurse
November 19, 2012
A day care centre coping in the face of substantial cuts is looking for more volunteers.
Age Concern Woodley in Southlake Crescent feared for its future after its council funding was chopped by 33 per cent last year, but a boost in people privately funding their care has given the centre renewed hope.
Now bosses are calling for volunteers to bring new help and excitement to members and help balance the books.
Graeme Layzell, Age Concern Woodley chief executive, said: “We faced a problem when the council came to us and said they would reduce expenditure on day care activities by a third and anticipated another third the following year.
“The trustees at the time thought about how they could move forward and we have done that by diversifying and offering different services.”
While concentrating on day care, the centre has extended respite services and expanded into work with people with dementia. Mr Layzell added: “While we have professional carers who do the nitty gritty, generally running an activity is something volunteers can do.
“We are hoping we can get more volunteers who can give their time for arts, crafts or music. It would be great to entertain and make the day with them interesting.
“Volunteers can give advice and support – like in financial management.
“The world’s a complex place today with personal budgets and when you’re in your 80s it can be really hard to organise that.
“There are lots of people around who might be able to give a morning, an afternoon or a day to go back to society.
“Volunteers can bring skills we don’t necessarily have and save us money as we try to reduce costs.”
He added: “We are in a crossover at the moment. Social services funding is reducing as private funding is increasing.
“When I joined in June 2011 there were lots of long faces and the view was we weren’t sure people would be willing to pay for their own care services.
“But now we are close to having as many people coming funding their services as we do people funded by Wokingham Borough Council.”
The charity has been helped by the fact that 50 per cent of its users are privately funding their care because social services support is no longer available.
“Social services money is going to people with the most critical needs, so people with substantial needs are losing support,” Mr Layzell explained.
“More people are funding themselves. I hope and believe because of the quality of the services we offer they are prepared to fund themselves and come to us.
“At the moment we are in the balance but I’m confident there is a future as people value what we do.”