THE Chief Executive of Age Concern Cheshire faced a hostile reception from day centre volunteers at a meeting about day centre closures.

Jill Walters met with local councillors, parish councillors and volunteers from the rural Age Concern day centres to explain why they have decided to close the centres.

Ms Walters told the meeting that since 2005, the numbers of people going to the day centres had been declining and the organisation could use the money more efficiently to help a wider number of people.

She said: “We are facing a 10% cut in funding from the council, and there are rumours it could reach 20%, we have to make the money go further.”

But a number of people at the meeting questioned Age Concern’s plan and Ms Walters’ figures.

Doug Haynes, a Tattenhall day centre volunteer, said: “There has actually been no consideration actually about what we think. You don’t seem to listen to the volunteers or the workers. I have no problem with Supporting You scheme but as something that could run alongside the day care centre.”

Director of Overleaf Business Consultancy Cathy Reynolds told the meeting she had been employed to help those day care centres who wished to carry on running once Age Concern had pulled out. She suggested parish councils take a leading role in the centres.

Many of the parish councillors present said they would not have the funds to support the day centres. She also told the group ‘change was inevitable’ and that ‘plans have to be made for the future’.

Roger Parrott, a volunteer at Tarporley day centre, said that the Tarporley centre did want to continue but said their plans are being thwarted because Age Concern Cheshire had stopped referring new clients to the day centre.

Mr Parrott also called on Cheshire West and Chester Council to help fund the day centres.

Council leader Mike Jones, who was at the meeting, said: “I have not yet formed an opinion on this issue.”

He also told the meeting the council were waiting for the Government to tell them what budget they would have for the coming year.