OAPs’ parting shot over day centre move

NO CONSULTATION ... Queens Road Day Centre member Cath Findlay with the letter members sent to councillors.
NO CONSULTATION ... Queens Road Day Centre member Cath Findlay with the letter members sent to councillors.

BATTLING pensioners are pressing councillors for promises as they face leaving their popular day centre after 30 years.

Elderly folk are set to quit Queens Road Day Centre in Saxon Way, Jarrow, on Tuesday, May 7, and move to Jarrow Community Centre.

Despite a long, and sometimes bitter, campaign to save the drop-in facility, about 100 regular members are now resigned to the move.

Pensioners collected more than 7,000 names on a protest petition and lobbied meetings, before councillors decided to back closure.

But as a parting shot, the centre’s committee has sent a letter to all councillors on South Tyneside Council, asking them to ensure their members receive the best level of care at their new base.

And centre officials still dispute council claims that the centre was closed after a two-year consultation process.

Joyce Miller, committee secretary, said: “We have written to every councillor to ask them to ensure that all the facilities we need at Jarrow Community Centre will be provided.

“None of us want to, but we have accepted we will have to go on May 7.

“But we still don’t accept we have been fully involved in a consultation about the closure of the centre for two years. That just didn’t happen.

“Some of us attended a couple of public consultation events about two years ago, but there was no proper consultation about closure.”

Committee member Cath Findlay said: “We have written to all the councillors to ask them to provide what we need at Jarrow Community Centre.

“As for consultation, the first we knew about closing the centre was late last year, which hardly amounted to two years.”

Cash-strapped South Tyneside Council said it can no longer afford to spend about £70,000 a year on maintaining the day centre, which needs outstanding repairs costing £25,000.

The council has no statutory duty to provide the day centre facilities represented by Queens Road, but has agreed to provide an alternative base for members at Jarrow CA, five minutes’ walk from the old centre.

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