A day care centre is to close despite numerous efforts to find a way to keep it open for its users.
Wellingborough Council is contacting about 180 people who attend its day care centre Glamis Hall after a decision was made last week to close the building and stop the service.
The council has pledged to try and find alternative facilities for all the people affected by the closure.
Glamis Hall, a community centre in Goldsmith Road in the town, is mainly used as the base for the council-run day care service for older people, with about 40 to 50 people attending each day.
The building was built in the 1970s and is no longer fit for purpose, incurring high repair and maintenance costs and unlikely to be brought up to standard even with an extremely significant investment.
The day care service is a discretionary service for the borough council, meaning they are not legally obliged to provide it.
The service currently costs about £170,000 a year to run.
Options to keep the building open and continue the day care centre have been thoroughly explored over past three years, including putting the service up for tender.
When that failed, a working party of councillors investigated other available options, including looking at costs for refurbishing the building, relocating to another building, or starting from scratch with a brand-new facility.
The working party concluded that none were viable and the council’s resources committee made the decision last Wednesday to close Glamis Hall from the beginning of next year.
Cllr Paul Bell, leader of the council and chairman of the resources committee, said: “There was not a councillor in the room who wasn’t concerned by this.
“The decision was made very reluctantly, but we were all agreed that it was the right decision to make.
“The building is at the end of its life.
“Essential work has had to be carried out to keep electrical and fire safety systems within safe limits, the heating and hot water are erratic and require constant monitoring, and the internal layout is far from ideal for those with limited mobility.
“Another key consideration was the changing needs of the people that attend Glamis Hall.
“In the past it was more of a social venue, but in recent times it has become necessary to provide care for people whose physical and mental health is frail.
“The Glamis Hall staff are extremely dedicated and well trained; they are providing an excellent service, but one which is usually provided by health care specialists.
“The working party had thought long and hard about other ways to keep the service going.
“None of them were viable and none represented value for money.”
Cllr Bell continued: “The day centre at Glamis Hall is a much-loved facility, but it does only provide a service to a small number of borough residents.
“The council is unfortunately in the position of having to make sure that our limited funds are used to the advantage of as many local people as possible.”
The committee agreed that Glamis Hall would close on January 1 next year.
All the people that use the centre, and their families, are being contacted and invited to attend a meeting to discuss the next steps.
Cllr Bell added: “We have agreed to close Glamis Hall, but we will do all we can to help the people affected.
“We’ll sit down with each individual family over the coming months and work with the county council to put together a needs assessment for everyone concerned.
“We’ll use our experience, knowledge and contacts to put them in touch with other organisations that could help meet those needs.”
Eleven members of staff are employed at Glamis Hall.
The council has said it will try and redeploy employees wherever possible but it may not be possible to avoid some redundancies.
The Glamis Hall building is also home to sports changing facilities, and discussions about the future of these facilities is ongoing.
A further report, to provide an update on the meetings with users of the centre and the provision of alternative services, is expected to be presented to the council’s resources committee in September.