I am very sad to hear that Age UK have announced their intention to close the Whitstable Branch of the organisation by March 2018. I understand this has been a very difficult decision for all involved. I am of course sad to see services for elderly members of our community being taken away from being based in Whitstable.
In recent years, Whitstable has suffered great reduction to many of its public, charitable and community services; this includes the loss of the police station, large post office, sorting office, council-run museum, job centre plus and other important provision. One of my key priorities is to fight for strong community services in Whitstable, most especially for our elderly and vulnerable residents, who often find it difficult to travel to the services of help offered in Herne Bay and Canterbury.
I understand that all current and potential clients of Age UK in Whitstable will be offered a place at the Age UK Herne Bay Day Centre instead. I am pleased that the transport option to the Herne Bay-based services will continue to be available to all Whitstable users. I will be looking to work with Age UK to ensure that the full range of services, including the gardening service, which are currently on offer to Whitstable users of Age UK remains, albeit based out of a different venue.
The hard-working staff of Age UK Whitstable now find their jobs at risk and I urge Age UK to put measures in place to offer similar roles in other services to their employees, as was offered to those facing redundancy recently at Age UK in Folkestone.
I want to work with the trustees, clients and supporters of this excellent charity to minimise disturbance and worry for all involved. My office and I are available to help with any concerns.