‘Work with us’ plea from elderly centre

Members of Poulton Old People's Centre have said they will fight to keep their premises in the centre of the town after Wyre Council bosses said they need them to vacate the "prime real estate" in order for it to be turned into a retail unit - pictured is chairman Ethel Brookes (front) with centre users

Members of Poulton Old People's Centre have said they will fight to keep their premises in the centre of the town after Wyre Council bosses said they need them to vacate the "prime real estate" in order for it to be turned into a retail unit - pictured is chairman Ethel Brookes (front) with centre users

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Councillors have agreed to look at working with a national charity after volunteers pleaded with them to save an old people’s centre.

Wyre Council had told bosses at Poulton Old People’s Centre, off Queensway in the town, it is looking to sell off the buildings as it is “prime real estate”.

Council bosses estimate between £30-35,000 rental revenue could be made from the building.But the centre’s more than 180 users, aided by a network of around 100 volunteers, have said to do so would be cutting off a lifeline to those who rely on it.

Now Age UK has said it would be willing to talk to the council about the centre’s future.

Volunteer Philip Howarth pleaded with councillors to work with them, at a meeting of Wyre full council on Thursday night.

He said: “That building is seen as a big cash asset. Yes the council might get tens of thousands of pounds, but how much would it cost the community if these elderly people lose that centre?”

Stephanie Tufft, chief executive for Age UK Lancashire, said: “I am suggesting we all get together to understand fully what the issues are so we can agree a way forward and whether the support of Age UK Lancashire would make a difference.

“This centre offers vital social connections and we must ensure we work together to protect this community asset.”

Coun Alan Vincent, resources portfolio holder, explained that while Wyre Council has no obligation to provide older people’s day services, which falls to Lancashire County Council, they would be happy to discuss the offer.

He said: “We have all the sympathy in the world with users but we have to operate in the most extreme financial circumstances.

“If there’s an opportunity to enhance the site and get more revenue from the building that’s something we would always look at.”

The council has said it has no “immediate plans” to close the centre.