Dementia day care centre to move out of Higham Ferrers due to library closure

Cando Care was officially opened by then MP Andy Sawford in 2014.
Cando Care was officially opened by then MP Andy Sawford in 2014.

A day care centre for dementia patients and vulnerable adults is having to relocate due to the anticipated closure of Higham Ferrers library.

Cando Care, which provides care and social activities for 16 people five days a week, is set to move out of its current location in Midland Road, Higham Ferrers, and set up 2.5 miles away at Irthlingborough library after Northamptonshire County Council decided to stop providing a library service in the town.

Last week the community group proposing to take over the library decided to step down, saying the financial commitment being asked by the council was too much.

If the library closes it is very likely the building, which is valued at more than £350,000, could be sold off.

The county council’s decision will mean the town will lose a library and a day care centre.

Kathleen Meredith, who runs Cando Care as a community interest company, and does not receive any funding from NCC, said she had wanted to remain in Higham Ferrers but is unable to find another suitable building.

She currently pays the county council £5,200 a year in rent for the use of the library building. She will now pay rent to use Irthlingborough library, which is one of the 19 which will remain under statutory protection and run by the county authority.

She said: “I set up Cando Care five years ago with a friend, because I know how vital a service it is. We don’t get any funding from NCC, we fund ourselves. We are small, however we don’t want to get any bigger as we have a patient centred approach.

“I have a daughter with a brain injury so I know how difficult it can be to care for somebody and that carers need a break.

“I absolutely love working with people with dementia and would not do anything else. But there are not many of us about now. The closure of day care centres is big news.

“Our move will impact on some – although we don’t want to put our costs up. As long as we can keep our heads above water we are fine. I am not in this to make a profit.”

Kathleen set up the company after working for East Northamptonshire charity Serve, which closed two day centres in Higham and Rushden after county council funding cuts in 2014.

The elderly who come along pay £25 for a day session which runs from 9.30am to 2.30pm. There is also a small charge for transport.

It is anticipated the move will happen in July.

Conservative county councillor Jason Smithers, who represents Higham Ferrers, said he was very disappointed that the library looked likely to close but was being pragmatic about the situation.

He said: “In an ideal world it would be brilliant to keep the library. We have to look at the bigger picture. Unfortunately Higham Ferrers library looks like it is going to be a casualty. NCC has to save money.”

Cllr Smithers said of the many emails he receives about local authority issues, few have been about the closure of the library. There are plans to open a new community centre in the town in a few years, which could provide a book lending service.

The county council is closing the library because of financial problems. Last year it became the first English local authority in 20 years not to balance its books. The deficit has now been paid off largely due to the income gained from selling off its new headquarters at One Angel Square, Northampton.