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Final few weeks for old folks' club

PUBLISHED: 12:35 20 February 2008 | UPDATED: 14:11 02 July 2010

OLD folk are putting on a brave face, despite the impending closure of their social club, writes Anna Turvey March 27 has been set as the final date for the closure of the popular unit at the Seabrook Centre in Wood Lane, Dagenham, which is being shut do

OLD folk are putting on a brave face, despite the impending closure of their social club, writes Anna Turvey

March 27 has been set as the final date for the closure of the popular unit at the Seabrook Centre in Wood Lane, Dagenham, which is being shut down due to a lack of funds.

For many of the elderly members, the centre is the only place they can go to socialise and remain active.

There are other Age Concern centres in the borough, but, according to Pauline O'Grady, manager of the club, this would mean splitting up groups of friends, some of whom have been attending for more than 20 years.

Pauline said: "They have made friends, they have fun; they deserve to do something with the rest of their lives."

Taking a break from her sequence dancing class, Dolly Stone, 86, said: "I think it's very very sad. All the people here are so friendly. It's been lovely I won't be going anywhere else."

Once the club closes for good, the 63 members, many of whom walk to Seabrook, face getting a bus to another centre, or phoning dial-a-ride, for which they have to pay.

There are no plans to provide transport to alternative clubs.

Pauline added: "We feel that all these people have grown up in the borough, worked here and paid taxes, and they should have something that's theirs.

"They need a reason to get up in the mornings."

A member of staff, who did not wish to give her name, said: "This decision stinks. If I'd won the Euromillions I'd have bought the place myself."

Alison Scally. Head of Services at Age Concern, said: "It's not a decision we've made lightly. We have got other centres available and will work with individual members to help them find one that's right for them".

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