Charity boss defends 50% rise in day-care fees

BRIERLEY HOUSE, in Sutton, where day-care fees have risen by 50%.
BRIERLEY HOUSE, in Sutton, where day-care fees have risen by 50%.

The boss of a mental-health charity has defended a shock rise of 50% in its day-care fees at centres in Ashfield.

The rise, from £10 to £15 per day, was challenged by Sutton man Gordon Hobbs, whose 82-year-old wife, Dinah, is an Alzheimer’s patient.

“It’s a lot of money in this day and age,” said Mr Hobbs (80), of Station Road. “I can afford it, but many elderly people will find it difficult to find this new fee. It needs looking into.”

Mrs Hobbs spends two days a week at Brierley House on Brierly Road, Sutton, which is one of several centres in the Ashfield and Mansfield area run by Central Notts MIND for people with dementia.

Roger Stendall, chairman of the trustees for the organisation, said he could “well understand the shock of some clients”.

“Unfortunately, we are struggling financially,” Mr Stendall said. “Cuts have hit all kinds of services hard, and charities have to be run as businesses now. We cannot afford to lose money.

“We have not increased charges for at least three years. But subsidising the service has become a real struggle.”

Mr Stendall points out that the new charge reflects the cost of room hire and also of meals, which are provided for the patients by Notts County Council. “There is no hidden agenda here,” he said. “The costs are astronomical at times. However, we are in the process of re-organising and we hope the quality of service will not be diminished.”

Mr Hobbs stressed that MIND provides a valuable service for his wife, to whom he has been married for 58 years. “But this explanation should have been passed on to us,” he said. “Communication was poor.”

Meanwhile Mr Hobbs is continuing his admirable crusade to raise funds for research into Alzheimer’s. After initially pledging, four years ago, to raise £1,200 in 12 months, he has now topped £5,000 after hosting a successful dinner, with entertainment, at the 281 Restaurant in Mansfield last Friday night.