Welling Age UK pop in parlour to move
PUBLISHED: 12:16 23 March 2012
Paul Goulden, boss of Bexley Age UK, confirmed in a meeting yesterday (22) that the Welling centre will relocate in the next two months
The boss of a charity which runs a pop in centre for people over the age of 55 in Welling is to relocate after 22 years in the building due to financial problems.
Mr Goulden held the meeting with volunteers and users at the centre on Bellegrove Road following discussions with the building’s landlord failed to find a solution.
He said: “This is no-one’s preferred choice but at the moment it costs us £18,000 a year to run the centre including rent, electricity, maintenance and everything else,
“The only way to make up for some of the shortfall would be to get more people in and out the door but we don’t want it to become like a cafe and lose the community feel.”
Despite the landlord lowering the rent from £16,000 to £14,000, the council is no longer able to subsidise the centre in the current economic climate.
Mr Goulden said options are to use Welling library on a temporary basis or move to another shop on the same road with cheaper rent, which is his preferred long-term choice.
The users who attended the meeting tried to stay positive about the relocation despite their fond memories.
Pat Clarke, 82, of Peters Close, has been going to the centre as long as she can remember because it gives her somewhere to socialise.
She said: “I think it is important that we still have somewhere to go but it needs to be advertised that the place is relocating rather than closing down.
“I suppose all good things must come to an end.”
Vicky Collins, 76, of Wordsworth Road, said: “This is disappointing considering the kind of money the council has but older people always seem to get shunted to the back of the queue.”
The centre is open four days a week for tea and coffee, light lunches and a range of activities such as arts groups.
Mr Goulden said: “We will hold another meeting at the end of April where we will lay down firm plans.
“Our lease is up on June 23 so realistically we’ll have to be out about a month before. It is my ambition to move out of this building on a Friday and into the new location on a Monday.”
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