Planning for the future will continue

A chat and a read in the Laburnum Centre's libruary''Picture by Louise Adams C131720-1 Bog Dec24 Laburnum
A chat and a read in the Laburnum Centre's libruary''Picture by Louise Adams C131720-1 Bog Dec24 Laburnum

SERVICES at a popular Bognor Regis day centre will continue to improve.

Diane Henderson, the chief executive of Age UK West Sussex, which runs the town’s Laburnum Centre, said they are planning for the future despite not knowing if their contract will continue after 2016.

“It is very much business as usual as far as we are concerned,” she told members of Arun District Council’s overview and select committee last Tuesday.

“We have had a very positive year. The new gym, not that I can really call it that now, has proved a huge success and the variety of activities and classes we offer is growing,” said Mrs Henderson.

As she presented the centre’s annual report to councillors she told them the Lyon Street facility had a loyal membership of around 725, some of whom had been using the centre since it opened.

“The membership numbers for the Laburnum Centre are static. Sadly, because of the age of some of our members they do pass away, but we are getting new members to maintain the figures,” she said.

The centre’s bus is also kept busy ferrying members to and from the centre and on day trips to places like Portsmouth’s Gunwarf Quays are always full.

The centre’s band of 91 loyal volunteers were also praised for their efforts and their training is ongoing.

Committee member Barbara Oakley said: “I just wanted to say how much I admire the work that Age UK are doing.

“There have been dramatic improvements in the services and you are working in a good partnership with us.”

Fellow councillor Phil Hitchens agreed: “I am very pleased with what Age UK have been doing.”

The charity has a contract with the district council to run the service until 2016, after that its contract could be extended, put out to tender, or the council could withdraw from providing activity day centres.

Cllr Roger Nash said it was essential work with Age UK continued, the provision for the older generations carried on after 2016 and they were not left without services.

Robin Wickham, the council’s voluntary sector and leisure manager, said officers would start looking at these issues in the next year.

Age UK also runs Littlehampton’s Tamarisk Centre, in Beach Road. It took on the two centres in 2006.