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Elderly anger at loss of club

PUBLISHED: 18:20 12 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:36 11 August 2010

MORE than 60 furious elderly residents have signed a petition protesting against the planned closure of their activity centre. Members of Active Age, at Park Centre, in Rectory Road, Dagenham say they are angry and distraught, to hear their club, run by A

MORE than 60 furious elderly residents have signed a petition protesting against the planned closure of their activity centre.

Members of Active Age, at Park Centre, in Rectory Road, Dagenham say they are angry and distraught, to hear their club, run by Age Concern Barking and Dagenham, may shut for good in three months.

Last week the POST wrote about Age Concern's proposal to end the Active Age service, which is run at seven separate centres across the borough and offers a host of activities, including bowling, dancing and outings.

The charity say they have been hit by the credit crunch and can no longer afford to cover the rent and staff costs, especially, they say, as the council have decreased their subsidies.

The furious Park Centre members, who sent their petition to the POST, say many elderly people will lose a vital life line if their club shut.

Doris Thornton, 73, said: "It's ever such a happy club and a great place to meet friends and have a laugh. If you are feeling down or lonely, which many elderly people do, it is the perfect place to go as you always feel better afterwards."

Fellow member Lily Martin, 84, who attends the club four times a week, agrees.

"Many of us have lost partners and it's important that you get out of the house to meet others," she said.

"There are just no alternatives for us if the Active Age service ends."

Members of all the clubs have been told they would need to raise £8000 for each centre, and increase the weekly membership fees.

Many now hope the council, who funded the entire service until 2002, will step in to help.

Councillor Herbert Collins, Executive Member for Adult Services and Public Health, said: "This came as a real surprise as we have always enjoyed an effective working relationship with Age Concern. A number of residents have told us that they would like to keep this service going and we are now urgently looking at ways in which that can be done.

"In these tough times, it is important that the council and its partners tackle issues of this nature together and that there is a joined up approach.


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