Loyal pensioners left in lurch to run their own activity club in Chadwell Heath

PUBLISHED: 09:00 12 June 2012

Volunteers: Pensioners maintain they have run the Chadwell Heath centre by themselves

Volunteers: Pensioners maintain they have run the Chadwell Heath centre by themselves


Frail pensioners have criticised the council after they were left to run one of its activity clubs for three months.

The Active Age centre in High Road, Chadwell Heath, has put on line-dancing, bingo and arts and crafts sessions for the disabled and elderly for years.

But the centre has been without management for the past three months and a group of pensioners have stepped in to run it.

The senior citizens have organised a petition calling on the council to fill the role as they are tired of volunteering their time.

Dagenham widow Doris Goff, 77, said: “We’re after anybody to run the centre. We don’t want the place to close. We have been told nothing. It’s like we’re in the Middle Ages. It’s blooming ridiculous.”

The Active Age centre was threatened with closure in 2010. The club had been run by Barking and Dagenham Age Concern before it merged with Help The Aged to become Age UK.

Barking and Dagenham Council took over the reins of six Active Age centres run by the charity at the time but 10 Age Concern staff were made redundant.

Mrs Goff, of Valence Avenue, added: “The volunteers have been running the centre for 13 weeks. They are very good people. They are very old and are pretty frail. They’ve got a sense of loyalty other people are missing.”

The council said it could not discuss “confidential staffing issues” but added it is working with members to “ensure services continue”.

A spokeswoman added: “The council has been working with all six of the Active Age Centres’ members to support them to take a more active role in the management of their own centres, and this includes Chadwell Heath.

“We have also been working with staff to support them to provide more effective cover for each other during periods of leave and sickness.”

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