Monday, 4 November 2013

UPDATED Cornwall Council might not be pulling out of Pengarth

Below is the post I wrote about Pengarth and the loss of grant funding from Cornwall Council.  I have since been contacted by Alex Folkes who informs me that this is not necessarily the case. To quote: "I'm afraid that the blog you have posted about Pengarth is not true. The amount that CC has provided to the centre has been cut (I don't have the precise figures, but have no reason to doubt those you have used). However, no decision has been taken to cut funding altogether."

I'm still wary that funding might still be cut, I hope not as this is a vital service to the old people of Penzance and one that saves the wider health and care services money. Definitely one to watch.

Below is my original post.

At this evenings Penzance Town Council meeting we were unexpectedly met with the news that Cornwall Council has pulled the grant funding from Pengarth. According to the figures they supplied Cornwall Council took over the grant funding from Penwith in 2009 and gave £15, 300 a year up until this financial year when it dropped to £12, 300. They've now decided to pull this out completely. The centre has made up the shortfall in recent years from reserves but is now in a precarious financial position.

For this of you that don't know Pengarth is based in Morrab Gardens and provides day care to elderly people, meals on wheels to 420-440 people per week. As the gentlemen (I forgot to note his name) from the Penzance and West Penwith Old Peoples Welfare Trust explained this care alleviates pressure on other care services.  In particular, bed blocking a major issue that has come to the fore in Cornwall in recent weeks has being on the verge of crisis. Yet an existing solution is being dropped!?!

It was rather disappointing that the Cornwall Councilor for the area in which the centre is Cornelius Olivier had no idea that Cornwall Council was pulling out funding.  I had this niave idea that Cornwall Councilors were abrest of all council run and funded services in their division. Whether this was never the case or due to poor communications at Cornwall Council I can only speculate. Ruth Lewarne to her credit pointed out that this move is "doubly mean" on Penzance after a few years ago similar funding was pulled out of St Mary's Haven. Yet again austerity hits the most vulnerable hardest.

I enjoy bring a town councilor, I really do but every meeting is dominated by Cornwall Council pulling out of funding something in the town. I do think we should find the £10,000 they are requesting to keep the centre open. But I wonder where the breaking point is for Penzance Town Council? CCTV, public tiolets, day care centre and the list will no doubt get longer, how much can we put up our council tax to support this and will the people of this town accept paying more tax for the same services?