Closure shock for day care centre

CLOSING DOWN: Visitors and staff outside Fulney Hall in August last year. Manager Mandy Crisp is pictured first left, back.
CLOSING DOWN: Visitors and staff outside Fulney Hall in August last year. Manager Mandy Crisp is pictured first left, back.
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Bosses of a day care centre for the elderly in Spalding are “devastated” because they are having to shut down on January 25.

Fulney Hall was set up by Mandy Crisp after she was made redundant when Halmer Grange closed in 2011.

The former relief care worker found roles for four of her former colleagues from the old folk’s home in Spalding, but now they are all looking for jobs – and trying to find alternative day care places for the 23 centre users.

Mandy, who opened Fulney Hall with her husband, Lee, said: “It is very difficult in this economic climate to make the day centre viable to run.

“It’s very sad. We are absolutely devastated because we have tried really hard to make a great service for elderly people.”

Mandy and Lee decided on Christmas Eve that they had to call it a day.

Fulney Hall, on Holbeach Road, caters chiefly for dementia patients and most of them are former Halmer Grange residents.

Mandy said they have provided first-class day care activities and two course-meals for the centre-users.

Fulney Hall opened in October 2011 – and was a lifeline for former staff and residents of the axed county council run home, Halmer Grange.

Speaking before its opening, day care centre manager Mandy Crisp said: “All four of our staff are coming from Halmer Grange and they are all so excited and passionate about this new project.

“We see it as a positive change for the users of Halmer Grange who want to meet up with friends and enjoy a rewarding experience.”

The day centre provided relief for carers – giving them a precious few hours off while their elderly relatives attended sessions there.

Old folk have enjoyed activities like gardening, art, exercise, singing and reminiscing.

Mrs Crisp said her priorities now are to try to find alternative day care places for the centre’s elderly users, to support her staff as they seek alternative employment and to find work for herself.

She said: “At the moment I am obviously looking for paid employment.”

Mrs Crisp said the decision to close was made purely on financial grounds.

The day care centre would have needed 40 users to make it pay – almost double the number attending.

She said: “We did start the business in a recession.”

A rumour was circulating yesterday that county council social services had forced the centre’s shut down – but that’s denied by Mrs Crisp, who says the decision is purely financial, and by the county council.

A county council spokesman said yesterday: “I can confirm that we have not ‘closed’ the day centre, nor could we do so directly.

“In fact the county council has not heard that Fulney Hall Day Centre is closing.

“We would not necessarily be told if this were the case, as the council has no direct contractual relationship with this provider.

“However, if they are supporting any individual through a direct payment then we will obviously provide appropriate support for individuals to access alternative provision.”