Burgess Hill Town Council has responded to the closure of Age UK’s Cherry Tree Centre.
It has said it is ‘shocked’ and ‘concerned’ at the loss of the facility for its older residents and is liaising with West Sussex Age UK to ensure their needs will continue to be met.
Councillor Anne Jones said the closure will be a ‘horrendous loss’ and her and other councillors are determined to do all they can to provide the ‘important’ service to the people of Burgess Hill.
She said: “It is very upsetting news and it will be a horrendous loss. Without a centre like this it would be dier and people’s health problems will escalate.
“It is an excellently run centre and caters for the elderly and frail. It is warm and friendly and we know people receive excellent day care.
“The frail and elderly are the most difficult to cater for. Myself and other councillors are determined to put all the effort in to ensure we have an excellent facility for our residents.
It is very upsetting news and it will be a horrendous loss.Councillor Anne Jones
“The centre provides a place they can have fun and have companionships and they are well fed. And people who work there know if someone is not theirself one day.
“My worry is the physical and mental health of people in this town. And centre’s like this reduce huge NHS costs and they increase the quality of life for our older residents.
“I am very impressed to see what is happening in other towns and our residents need a centre like this.”
The centre in Fairfield Road released a statement earlier today (October 20), confirming the closure.
Its reasons for the closure is due to its location, which they say is not central enough and its struggle to attract new members.
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Councillor Jones insisted the centre is ‘well-used’.
“This is a very important service for people in Burgess Hill,” she said.
“Each organisation which provides day care is always saying it is good to be in the centre of the town and the beauty with what we have provided for our residents at this centre is they can come in and have a bath, or have some food, or have some fun.
“The Department of Health and local authorities are working together at the moment and both Burgess Hill Town Council and Mid Sussex District Council know that older people in the town will need these services.
“If not people will be taking up more hospital beds, which damages both physical and mental health.
“What we need is a really improved service and it is a vital commitment from the local authorities.
“The care of our elderly people is absolutely crucial. If they can’t run the centre, then we will look for a way to – we have to.”