Age Concern Chatham is a stand-alone independent charity which offers elderly people a communal place to meet and socialise, and Tracey has been a regular visitor to Hopewell Drive since it opened. The centre has recently announced that their financial situation has caused them to think about closing the centre, along with all the services it provides within Chatham at the end of December 2012.
Medway Council Officers and the Trustees at the Centre have since had emergency meetings to look at what can be done to prevent the centre’s scheduled closure. At the Council’s last full meeting it was announced that Age Concern would be offered £69,000 to help underwrite liability costs, which the charity have said are one of the main reasons for their closure. Alongside the Council’s offer, they are also keen to offer further advice on ways in which the centre can be better managed in order to help ensure it does not close. Age Concern Chatham have stated that they still do not believe this is a feasible amount to ensure the centre can continue to operate.
Tracey visited the centre on Friday to talk through what has been offered by Medway Council and what options are available to Age Concern. She also collected petitions which have been signed from clients and their friends and family, who are desperately seeking help with the centre’s survival.
Having visited and attended many events in the past, Tracey is passionate about the service the centre offers and is committed to sustaining such a provision in Chatham. After the meeting, Tracey said:
“I am determined to keep a service for the elderly in Chatham and, with that in mind I am convening, and will chair, a meeting at the earliest opportunity between Medway Council and Age Concern Chatham to see if a resolution to this problem can be found.
“If not, I will do all I can to ensure that an alternative provider is found to continue a service in Chatham at an affordable price for those users and carers who need it most.”
Tracey has offered to act as an intermediary between the charity and council. She will be chairing a meeting between the officers of Medway Council and the Trustees at Age Concern at the earliest opportunity to mediate and hopefully identify a possible solution to the centre’s future.