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Fears as care centre is axed

PUBLISHED: 16:50 12 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:30 25 August 2010

A NIGHT care centre for dementia sufferers is to close with less than a month s notice. Bosses at Age Concern Bexley s (ACB) night centre, in Elm Road, Slade Green, say they don t receive enough grant money to support it.

A NIGHT care centre for dementia sufferers is to close with less than a month's notice.

Bosses at Age Concern Bexley's (ACB) night centre, in Elm Road, Slade Green, say they don't receive enough grant money to support it.

The centre which will close on April 3, is a lifeline for family carers as it gives them one or two nights a week free to rest or socialise knowing their relative is being cared for.

David Nicolle, 75, of Parkhurst Road, Bexley, has taken his wife, Pamela, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease, to the centre for three years.

He said: "I get three nights sleep a week when she goes to the night centre.

"The thought of it closing is very stressful to me and my wife. I'm absolutely furious at the way people like me are being treated."

Mr Nicolle hit out at the ACB's 'secrecy' claiming carers only found out about the closure by staff rumours a week before an official announcement was made.

ACB sent out letters announcing the closure last Friday, after a call from the Times and weeks after rumours of closure had already spread.

David Page, of Park Approach, Welling, takes his 78-year-old mother, Joyce, to the centre three evenings a week and said it could take weeks to change her routine.

He said: "I get mum into a routine to give her structure. Anything that takes her out of that too quickly can make her panic.

"We would rather pay to take our relatives to the night centre because it is so important, but nobody asked us.

"Is this the beginning of help being taken away from carers?"

Chief executive of ACB Eddie Falvey said in the last year £12,000 had been spent on hiring agency staff alone.

He said: "Unfortunately, the grant we receive does not cover these additional costs, as a small charity we are unable to continue trying to make up the short fall."

The closure will result in redundancies for a range of staff.

Sharon Massey, Bexley council's cabinet member for health, only found out about the closure through a resident. She said: "Bexley council has not cut its funding in any way whatsoever."

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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