Investing in day centres which allow people to stay active could help prevent use of more ‘costly services’.
That’s according to one campaigner battling to help keep day centres open, many of which are fighting for their long-term future.
Day centres across Oxfordshire are set to benefit from more than £300,000 of funding from transition grants as a new system of daytime support is gradually adopted, but for many centres the money does not go far enough.
Oxfordshire County Council say the majority of centres to benefit will receive their share of the cash from September.
Abingdon Town Councillor Samantha Bowring, who is creating a business plan for the South Abingdon children’s centre to stay open, has been campaigning to keep the centre working in the community.
She said the county council have told the centre the rent for the facility is around £30,000 per year, and Ms Bowring says they are looking into organisations to partner with and share the space and cost to keep their services going.
She said: “The main problem is that there is not support beyond the basic support at present.
“I still hope that the [Abingdon] town council will look at its priorities and see what they can put into keeping services running that Oxfordshire is cutting back on.
“It is about priorities and not only is it a compassionate priority, it seems to me to be common sense to invest in services that help people lead healthy independent lives and not become dependent on higher cost services.”
She added: “By investing into day centres that allow people to lead active lives, have a social life and access services they are less likely to call upon more costly services.”
Of the around 200 voluntary daytime support facilities for young, old and those with disabilities about 150 operate without financial support from the county.
More than 40 do receive help – only six have not placed a bid, two of which have decided they can continue without support from the council.
Of the services proposed for the funding, Age UK day centres are set to get a cash injection of £98,000 across nine services in Oxfordshire.
Acting chief executive of Age UK Oxfordshire, Penny Thewlis, said that long-term plans would be put in place for funding beyond the proposed financial package.
She said: “We are putting in place a range of measures to sustain our clubs – including fundraising, increasing our fees and visiting costs.
“Most centres like ours are doing everything possible to come up with realistic survival plans.
“This is not where any of us would wish to be, but these Transition Grants give us time to work with local communities, funders and older people and carers to retain as much of our provision as possible. But we cannot achieve this alone.”
The next round of funds available in 2018/19 will be a reduced amount of £250,000.
Other centres that are bidding in this next round are the Daybreak Oxford centres, which have a proposed bid for £50,000 across three centres.