A DAY care centre is ‘fighting for its life’ in the face of dwindling support from Dorset County Council.
Trustees of Chancery House in Bridport are to hold an extraordinary meeting next Tuesday to decide how the facility is to survive.
Barbara Vousden, chairman of the trustees, said: “We are fighting for our survival.
“With Chancery House it is unique in the way we do things.
“Where would people go if Chancery House closes? The day care centres that the council run don’t have the activities we have, the bathing facilities, or the hairdressers.
“We need to get local people on board and get support from local businesses.”
She said because Chancery House offered care it has to provide trained carers.
She said: “Years ago volunteers used to do all these things.”
The day care centre costs more than £3,000 a week to run and according to trustee West Dorset District Councillor Keith Day the county is withdrawing 50 per cent of its funding – more than £25,000 – in August.
Mr Day said it would be a real struggle to keep going. “We will have to change our charging practices.
“Chancery House has been going for 39 years and it seems a shame to lose it.”
Mrs Vousden said there would be another meeting next week with the county council.
She said: “But if it is anything like the one the month before, you come out of it feeling terribly frustrated because you don’t get any answers.”
She said the council hadn’t said how much money there would be, adding: “So we are left in complete limbo.
“We are talking about our survival, once something goes it doesn’t come back.”
Fellow trustee Roger Stoodley said they would meet next week to discuss the shortfall in funding and their plans to cope with it.
He said: “Although we are a charity we have to up our game and start acting more like a business.
“We have to make business-like decisions for the future.”
Those might include charging for respite care at around £25 a day, said Cllr Day.
Mr Stoodley added: “The biggest thing we need is more customers, more people who use the centre, whether they are paid for by the county council or from their own resources.
“We need to raise people’s awareness in the town that we are there for their benefit.”