Day service returns to town thanks to volunteers

PUBLISHED: 09:04 08 November 2014

Exmouth Town Crier Roger Bourgein officially cut the ribbon this week at the opening of the Welcome Centre for elderly day care following the closure of the Age Concern centre. Ref exe 0010-45-14SH Picture: Simon Horn

Exmouth Town Crier Roger Bourgein officially cut the ribbon this week at the opening of the Welcome Centre for elderly day care following the closure of the Age Concern centre. Ref exe 0010-45-14SH Picture: Simon Horn

Archant

A vital day service for Exmouth’s elderly people has returned after a determined effort by volunteers.

The new Welcome Centre has its roots in the old Age Concern Exmouth Day Centre at Landon House, which provided a popular service before being closed in September by the charity, which said it could no longer afford to run the building.

Determined to keep serving their clients, former staff and volunteers from Landon House formed a committee, and after negotiations with East Devon District Council, they have now opened the new centre, totally independent from Age Concern, running at Morgan Court Community Centre three days a week.

Manager Angela Boatwright, formerly activities coordinator at Landon House, said: “The clients said they would miss it so much, and the carers said they would lose their respite care, so we thought ‘we can’t let this service go’.”

Chairman Phil Williams said: “It’s a very steep learning curve.

“A lot of us were volunteers, or, in my case, did the transport, and we’ve had to take different roles.

“It just goes to show if you set your mind on something and are passionate, it can be done.”

The centre is operating as a community interest company, with any profits going back into the service, and has two members of staff, supported by volunteers.

It is offering a day service, which provides mental and physical activities, crafts and games, and trips into the community, along with a lunch club.

Among the day service clients to make the move up from Landon House is Barbara Hooper, 75.

She said: “It’s a bigger place here and they get more people coming. I missed the company.”

Sheila Sandy, 84, said: “I’m in my own home, but you’ve got to get out, and you only can if there is somewhere like this.

“I am pleased. Everybody here is so nice and friendly.”

The centre is opening on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The lunch club, which serves fresh two-course meals from approximately 12.15pm, costs £5.

● For more information, call Angela on 07816 004861, or email thewelcomecentre@outlook.com

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