Services for elderly at Caterham’s Douglas Brunton Centre under review as council says it’s unsustainable

August 10, 2018
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Some services at the Douglas Brunton Centre in Caterham are under threat as Tandridge District Council says not enough people are using them to make them sustainable.

The community facility, which has been a hub for services assisting the elderly for over 30 years, may see some of the groups and activities on offer either scrapped or stripped back.

The council says it needs to change things to make it financially viable and is in talks with St Catherine’s Hospice to lease part of the building to the palliative care specialists.

While this would be good news for anyone in need of end-of-life care in east Surrey, those that use the existing services would lose out.

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Lunch clubs, exercise groups and arts and crafts groups could be affected and the council is looking to see where else current members can access these locally.

A spokeswoman for the council said that in recent years the number of people using the centre has steadily declined due to a much wider range of services and choices available elsewhere.

She added: “At this stage no decisions have been made. We are exploring options to ensure we can still support and provide services to the most vulnerable centre users, while making the centre financially viable. The usage information is based on actual figures over 10 years.

This gentleman was seen on the bus going to protest the changes
(Image: Helen Charalambous)

“We do not know what services will move out as this is part of the review. We need to look at the different types of activities users attend and whether there is a viable alternative locally.”

The current Meals on Wheels service is under threat as there has been a decline in sales, putting the company, Apetito, around £10,100 per year over budget.

The council spokeswoman continued: “The numbers relate to the users at the centre; for example 12,505 centre lunches were served in 2007/2008 compared to 6,139 in 2017/2018 and users had 382 baths in 2007/2008, compared to 88 baths in 2017/2018.”

The Men in Sheds project is among the services that will be unaffected
(Image: Photo by Surrey Mirror)

During a June council committee meeting it was proposed to lease a substantial part of the centre to St Catherine’s Hospice, which is based in Crawley but supports people in east Surrey with a terminal illness, and their families.

Paul Rycroft, new hospice and site services director at St Catherine’s, said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Tandridge District Council to explore using the Douglas Brunton Centre for larger community care services in east Surrey.

“Working from a venue in east Surrey will allow us to offer our expert end-of-life care and support to more local terminally ill people. For us, this is vital as we know that more people in our community need our help.”

He said that only one in three people who need the charity’s support are able to get it and that setting up in Caterham would allow it to get closer to its ambition of “making sure nobody in east Surrey faces death and loss alone”.

Some services, such as those provided by Surrey Choices, Age UK and East Surrey Dial-a-Ride, as well as the Men in Sheds project, would continue and be unaffected.

Councillor Nick Childs, chair of the council’s housing committee, said: “The Douglas Brunton Centre has been a vital part of the community for 30 years. By opening discussions about the centre and our Meals on Wheels service we will make sure we continue to run vital services in the most efficient way.

“Exploring options for more partnership working with other organisations will enable us to continue the important work of supporting our most vulnerable residents and expanding the range of services which are offered locally to our residents.”

The review is expected to end and a decision be made in September.

Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/services-elderly-caterhams-douglas-brunton-14930636


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