Long live Laburnum!

I HAVE been a Laburnum member for 12 years and I was very disturbed by the comments made by some councillors on how the centre should be reviewed.

I wonder how many times Councillors Hitchins and Hazlehurst have visited the Laburnum Centre to meet the 60-, 70-, 80- and 90-year-old members to hear, first hand, what an excellent and unique establishment we have in Bognor Regis.

I must make it clear what is available is not a council freebie, we pay either a daily or six-monthly membership and a little extra for some classes.

People already travel in from all around Bognor and further afield for companionship, to have a chat, a laugh, to keep warm and have a hot meal cooked for them.

They can also borrow a book or DVD, receive support or advice from the management, get their hair done, book an outing or holiday with other members, make new friends, learn a craft, paint, learn a new language, learn how to use a computer, join the choir and, if they are able, join a keep fit class.

All this is available for five days each week. How on earth could a mobile service replace all of that in any way?

I have often thought the centre is the last place in the area that should have its support for the older community reduced or removed.

If it were not here, what effect would it have?

Lots of older people committed to isolation and loneliness, waiting for their thinly-spread support to come in a mobile van.

I am sure mental health problems would increase because ADC will have taken away the support that keeps so many people alert and well.

Surely it would be better to encourage greater use of the centre so that more of the older generation could benefit from its excellent facilities.

Arun councillors should be proud of the Laburnum Centre and the support it gives Age UK and do all they can to maintain it.

I fear that any effort to spread the current support across the wider area of the district would result in money being wasted, reducing its effectiveness and very probably closing the existing centres – the Laburnum in Bognor Regis and the Tamarisk in Littlehampton – which are doing so much good now.

I hope there will be no reduction in Arun’s support of Age UK’s two centres and no thought of a substitute mobile service which could not work.

John Stanley

Sylvan Way, Bognor Regis