Elderly people’s centre struggles under council cuts

Genesis Wellbeing Centre based at the Trinity Schools rooms on Gillibrand Walks in Chorley
Genesis Wellbeing Centre based at the Trinity Schools rooms on Gillibrand Walks in Chorley
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The plug has been pulled on a vital £10,000 grant which paid the rent for a Chorley care centre.

Genesis Care is based at Chorley Methodist Church on Devonshire Road, and provides a place for elderly people and those with Alzheimers to go for social activities and meals.

Staff and volunteers relied on a Lancashire County Council grant to pay for the rent and heating for the past two years.

But after government cuts forced the grant to be discontinued, the not-for-profit organisation is starting to arrange fundraising events to keep the service going.

One of the centre’s founders, Lynda Sutch, said: “£10,000 meant a lot to us, and we used it to pay for rent and heating.

“We won’t be getting any more grants now, and it means we’ll have to start thinking of other ways to get some money coming in.”

The 62-year-old, from Adlington, set up the service in November 2006 with a group of colleagues, after LCC made them redundant from their social services work.

“In hindsight, it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” she said. “I love what I do now, and we’re all very passionate.

“We don’t want our visitors to suffer as a result of losing the grant, because the atmosphere here is fantastic.

“We expected the grant to be pulled at some stage, and we’re not the only ones affected by cuts, but it does mean that we have to host our first big fundraiser soon.”

Six staff and volunteers provide activities such as chair-based tai chi and arts and crafts for the elderly people, who pay a small fee to attend the sessions.

Lynda said: “Around 35 people come here every day we’re open, which are Mondays, Tuesday and Fridays.

“I don’t think our guests would be able to stay living at home for as long as they do if it wasn’t for the service we provide here.

“We give them an alternative environment and they make friends, and older people can’t always speak up for themselves.

“I think they deserve better than the treatment they receive from society; they’ve worked all their lives and some have been in wars, and we wouldn’t have the life we have today if it wasn’t for them.”

Roy Jones, assistant county secretary at LCC, said: “The Genesis Day Group made two successful applications for grants under the former ‘Local Gateway Grants’ scheme.

“The first of these grants ran from July 2008 to June 2011, and the second from July 2009 to June 2011.

“The agreement covering these grants made it clear that they were for fixed periods and did not involve any kind of commitment to provide funding in the future.

“In April 2011 we replaced Local Gateway Grants with a new scheme called the Local Initiative Fund.

“We wrote to all of the organisations affected by the change earlier this year, including the Genesis Day Group, explaining how to apply for funds under the new scheme. However, we did not receive an application from the Genesis Day Group.”

A fundraising event is being held at Fox Lane Sports Club in Leyland, on October 28 from 7.30pm until midnight.

There will be professional entertainment from singer Rick Guard, whose mum died from Alzheimers.

There will also be a hotpot supper and disco, and tickets cost £10. Call 07845 969442.

Organisations can find out more about the Local Initiatives Fund by phoning 01772 530818.