A centre which provides a vital lifeline for senior citizens in Corby is appealing for help to meet rising transport costs.
Two or three buses a day pick users up from all over the borough to take them to the Autumn Centre in Counts Farm Road in the town.
If people couldn’t afford to get here, they would be stuck at home isolated
Corby transport firm Lawsons provides the buses, which can accommodate up to 10 people per journey, including four wheelchair users and carers, some with early dementia who need an escort to take them door to door.
With fares costing just £2 each way, the bus company has been running the service at a loss but can no longer afford to do so.
That means the centre needs to find sponsorship of £1,200 a month to avoid doubling the fare to £4 each way, which could make it too expensive for some senior citizens to use the complex.
Beryl Pryce, 74, of Stadtpeine Close, Corby, has been attending the centre twice a week since February.
She said: “The Autumn Centre has made a huge difference to my life.
“My daughter says she can’t belief the difference in me since I started coming here.
“The staff are wonderful and I’ve made new friends.
“If the fares go up some people may not be able to afford to come to the centre and like me, they would feel very isolated if they were stuck at home all day.”
Phyllis Beharell of Corby attends the centre once a week with her mum, also called Phyllis.
She said: “The staff are excellent and so are the services the centre provides.
“It’s a great asset for Corby families and really deserves to be supported.
“I hope people will come forward to help with the appeal for sponsorship.”
The Autumn Centre, which opens Monday to Friday from 9am until 2.30pm, provides a whole range of services for its elderly users.
As well as enjoying a nutritious and reasonably priced three-course lunch, users can take part in various activities, such as art and craft sessions, bingo and tai chi.
Senior citizens can also take advantage of the monthly foot health clinic, enjoy a manicure and visit the centre’s hair salon.
Maria Difolco, supervisor at the centre, said: “We help people keep their mind and their body active and to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
“I want people to realise how much of a lifeline the centre is to our elderly users.
“If people couldn’t afford to get here, they would be stuck at home feeling isolated.
“Their health would deteriorate.
“The Autumn Centre provides a vital service for the town and now we are asking for Corby’s help.
“I hope firms, organisations and individuals will support us and offer sponsorship.”
Andris Vilnitis, who runs the centre, said: “Transport is much more expensive than people think.
“We would welcome any sponsorship, whether this is a company sponsoring the centre for a year or a range of firms each sponsoring transport for a month.
“We would be extremely grateful for any help with funding.”
The Autumn Centre is a registered charity supported by Corby Council and Northamptonshire County Council.
If you can help by sponsoring transport costs contact Mr Vilnitis on 01536 264671.