Concern over Wokingham day care centre fees hike

Image caption, At the Age Concern day care centre in Woodley some users will see the cost rise from £5 to £21

Elderly people using day care centres in Wokingham in Berkshire have spoken of their worries as they face increased fees to use the service.

The council has changed funding of day care to being means tested.

People with more than £23,250 in savings could see the cost rise from the current £5 to up to £60 per day.

The council said central government spending cuts had led it to make the decision, which it said was the best option in difficult circumstances.

Catherine Greenland, who goes to the Age Concern day care centre in Woodley, said: "I like the company.

"I would like to still stay with my friends, I know them all mostly."

Another user, Connie Everett, said: "It's all right at the moment but if I wanted to come another day I couldn't because I don't want to spend that sort of money."

Essential respite

Ann Parr, manager at the Woodley centre, said: "People living in the community need an outlet, so day care is really essential to them for their quality of life.

"To be able to remain living in the community they need support.

"They still want to play an active part in their community and coming to a day centre allows them to do that.

"But people are already saying to us 'I used to come two days a week, maybe I'll come two half days a week because it won't cost me as much'.

"It's also essential respite for carers when they can have a break, maybe one or two days a week."

Stuart Rowbotham, from Wokingham Borough Council, said: "The increasing number of older people who've been requiring care has put significant strain on the council's resources, and at a time of financial constraints.

"We had to do something in terms of simply managing the demand against the resource."

Anyone with savings of less than £14,500 will not have to pay for their day care.

Between £23,250 and £14,500 there is a sliding scale where people will have to pay part of the cost.

Above £23,250 they have to pay the full price, which varies depending on the day centre and service being offered.

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