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Day care centre 'victory for people power' hailed

By West Briton  |  Posted: January 30, 2014

  • Trustees and staff at the Donald Thomas Centre in Camborne which has been saved from closure.

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THE power of local Camborne people has helped secure thousands of pounds to keep an elderly day care centre up and running.

More than 100 people turned out to voice their support for the Donald Thomas Centre (DTC) at a town council meeting on Thursday.

Members of the council's budget and development committee discussed whether they could supply £24,000 to keep the under-threat centre running.

Councillors discussed the financial implications of handing over the cash before voting unanimously to supply the grant.

The day care centre was left in financial difficulty as a result of Cornwall Council announcing it would pull funding from it in April, along with other day centres across the county.

Jean Charman, from the Donald Thomas Centre, said: "I'm delighted. This is a victory for the people as well as for Camborne.

"This funding will help fund the centre for a year.

"In that time we hope to find alternative funding options so we can become self-reliant.

"If the council can afford to spend £250,000 on a new handyman building in Redruth, then there's not really any reason why they cannot fund this vital service.

"There was a few moments when we thought we would be handing out redundancy notices to staff, but those 100 people who came to the meeting have won this battle for us."

Councillor Robert Webber, chairman of the budget and development meeting, removed himself from the meeting because he had a personal interest in the decision, being a trustee of the DTC.

But after the meeting he told the West Briton: "I am delighted that the town council has agreed to financially prop up the centre for the upcoming year.

"This will give trustees time to get funding from other sources. This is a good day for Camborne and its residents.

"The crowd certainly helped out. To elderly residents, who use the day centre as a place to gather, it is vital."

Acting chairman for the meeting, Councillor Stuart Odgers, said after the meeting: "The decision to support the application from the trustees of the Donald Thomas Centre was a 'leap of faith'.

"While the challenges remain significant and challenging, it was vital the town council demonstrated their support to ensure such a service to the local community continues and is sustainable. Additional financial support from grant award agencies will hopefully also see this decision as a reflection of the support within the town that this centre provides."

The DTC, on Chapel Street, employs one full-time manager and seven members of staff and is used by about 100 people every week.

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