Petworth day care services for elderly to be scrutinised

PETWORTH town councillors have formed a working party dedicated to looking at the provision of day-care facilities in the town.

The move follows a visit from Colin Hughes and Margaret Guest, leading figures in the pioneering Rother Valley Together (RVT) group which has set up day activities in the Grange Leisure Centre at Midhurst and commissioned Age UK to run the services for them.

The group is keen to extend day-care services to elderly and vulnerable people across the Midhurst and Petworth area and Mr Hughes said he wanted to work with Petworth town councillors to look at providing a Petworth based service.

But he told them funding was crucial and asked whether they would be prepared to put a sum of money aside if numbers showed there was a demand for a service in the town.

Chairman of the town council’s finance and general purposes committee Gordon Allan told fellow councillors: “What RVT are suggesting is that we form our own group and identify the needs of the elderly in Petworth and earmark money from our budget to do something about it.”

He said Mr Hughes had told him there were some funds available, but these could not be accessed unless Petworth identified a need.

“I suggest we form a working group to try and find out if there are any gaps in the services already run in Petworth,” he told councillors.

Fellow member Juliet Fynes said she was keen to participate.

“Hampers Green Community Centre management committee members are extremely keen on this idea,” she told the council, “because theirs is a community facility which is being under-used and we would love to see something like this run there.”

It was an ideal location, she said, with a good kitchen, parking on level ground and brand-new disabled toilet facilities.

“If there was some funding available I would like to be involved in a committee to look at it,” she told town councillors.

She said she had contacted the Age UK-run service in Midhurst and discovered it was used by five people from Petworth with another about to join.

It cost £5 for them to travel in the minibus to Midhurst, which, some councillors felt, was a large cost to bear for many elderly people.

Town councillors decided to set up a working group consisting of Mrs Fynes, fellow town councillor Rosa Pawsey and with the help of Tony Sneller who is also a member of RVT.

They are to carry out an audit of services for elderly and vulnerable people in the town, to see what gaps there may be in provision and discuss how these could be met and how they could be funded.