Arbroath’s elderly and vulnerable people have been dealt a blow with the announcement the Town Mission is to end its day care and lunch club services.
The lunch club will close its doors two days after a Christmas party later this month and day care provision will end in March, with financial pressures being blamed for the decision.
Mission leaders have stressed the Grant Road venue will continue to offer a range of other services, but the end of the two popular strands of the operation has been met with dismay.
Mission Pastor Dave Webster said every avenue had been exhausted in an effort to retain the lunch club and keep day care running beyond the end of the current contract with Angus Council in the spring.
“Having worked hard over a significant period of time at finding ways to reconcile the financial situation, including several constructive discussions with the council, the Mission’s board of directors felt it had no option but to announce the necessary closure of the centre’s staffed services for the elderly,” he said.
“It has been a privilege for us to have the opportunity to provide practical care and companionship as well as a good meal and a sense of community for so many people over the years, and our hearts are heavy for those who will feel the loss of the lunch club and day care.
“Unfortunately, with the ongoing financial situation that we have faced for several years it is no longer viable for us to provide these services in this way.”
He said the Mission team would fully co-operate with Angus Council to ensure the needs of service users are accommodated as far as possible and that their best interests are protected.
The Town Mission dates back to 1830 and was created to serve the spiritual and practical needs of townsfolk.
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It began to offer meals in its new sports hall and café in 1986, leading to the development of a purpose-built dining hall with a capacity for around 100 people.
The mission also had a capacity for 16 day care clients, but numbers using the service have reduced to almost half that in recent years.
Mr Webster added: “We will of course still be meeting as a church, and our other areas of community ministry, such as our clothes bank, community café and youth and children’s clubs will continue to operate, being run by our church volunteers.”
Arbroath Independent councillor Lois Speed said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks for their services to communities over the last two centuries .
“The Angus Health and Social Care Partnership is continuing their focus on the service users and working with partners to ensure the best possible outcome for them.”