Council deeply saddened by the decision to close Bertha James Day Centre

Published Thursday, 12 March 2020

Bromley Council has been reassuring users of Bertha James Day Centre that it is sourcing alternative arrangements, following Age Concern Trustees’ decision to close their doors for the last time.

Councillor Diane Smith, Executive Councillor for Adult Services and Health said: “Saturday’s decision by the Trustees obviously comes as very sad news to all of us. 

“Users and their families can rest assured that the council’s Adult Care Team has been working flat out since first thing Monday morning to ensure the transition and transfer period that follows, works as speedily, seamlessly and amicably for the centre’s clients as it possibly can, and that process is already well underway.

“The use of day centres has been declining for some time and we know there are vacancies in other very good centres elsewhere in the borough which will warmly welcome those affected. Our parallel priority is to offer advice and signposting to those families who currently fund their own places at the centre and require help.

“The short notice period provided is particularly disappointing given the support and advice the council has provided to the Trustees since last summer. This included launching a promising bid application which held the potential to secure the centre’s long term future, building on from the rent holiday the council has provided for two and a half of the past three years and a pre-advised ex gratia payment to cover 
the rent for 2020/21, in a final effort to provide the centre with further time to work through a necessary new business plan.

“Regrettably, as even a cursory inspection of the centre’s annual reports running back to 2011 clearly shows, incrementally rising staff costs over time in an age of quite striking falling demand in its client base, as more and more residents choose Direct Payments to select their own choice of provider, has driven the Trustees to make this desperate decision instead.

“On what is clearly a very sad day for everyone involved in the Adult Care Sector locally, I would like to end by thanking Age Concern Ravensbourne – the charity running the centre - for everything they have contributed in the past and also, of course, to extend my very kindest thoughts and wishes to everyone in their team moving to the future.”