Evening News fund helps save under-threat day centre

Doreen Steel, front, organiser of Costessey Day Centre, which faces closure unless it can secure new

Doreen Steel, front, organiser of Costessey Day Centre, which faces closure unless it can secure new funding. From left, Derik Davison, Steven Peruzzi, volunteer Irene Dinneen, volunteer Barbara Smith, Margaret Hudson, and Remmy Remington. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Members of a day centre facing closure because of funding issues are today raising a cup of tea to the group's future after receiving more than £2,000 to keep it going.

The Evening News is among those who have stepped in to save the Costessey Day Centre, which helps to combat loneliness and isolation. The day centre, which has been operating for more than 30 years, appeared likely to fold within weeks, after seeing a reduction in its funding from Norfolk County Council.

But the group is now in line for a £1,000 grant under our Fighting for the Vulnerable initiative, which runs a fund providing support for groups, charities and communities in desperate need.

The day centre has also received another £1,000 from a local couple, moved by its plight. The pair, who wish to remain anonymous, got in touch after the Evening News highlighted the threat to the group. Smaller donations also came in during a fundraising table top sale which volunteers held at Owen Barnes Room on Saturday.

Doreen Steel, organiser of Costessey Day Centre, said she was absolutely overwhelmed with the response and delighted that the club could now carry on.

'You do not know what it means to us. I am so, so grateful. Thank you ever so much,' she said.

'It means we can now carry on nicely, and we can have more outings, go out to lunch more, have more speakers come in, basically it will mean a lot to everyone.'

Most Read

Graham Tuttle, from the Norfolk Community Foundation which administers the Fighting for the Vulnerable fund, said: 'It is really important for the day centre to have security and this funding will mean that it can focus on delivering its excellent services to those who need it most. It is this very reason that the Fighting for the Vulnerable Fund was created to help people who are vulnerable and to give them a greater sense of support.'

The fund grew from one that was initially set up – in conjunction with our sister paper the Eastern Daily Press – to assist communities affected by the devastating flooding the region suffered in December 2013.

It has since evolved into a more wide-ranging 'fighting fund' to provide swift assistance to communities and groups who find themselves facing difficulties, in a broad spectrum of circumstances.

Nigel Pickover, editor-in-chief of the Evening News, added: 'In the aftermath of helping 300 families and businesses in the wake of the tidal surge crisis Fighting for the Vulnerable became a clear and obvious successor to the flood appeal.

'We can strike quickly and keep our spirit of community care alive and well. Now the day centre can plan for years ahead – and we will watch its progress with admiration and excitement.'

Costessey Day Centre was founded 33 years ago by the charity Mind, to offer support to those with mental health problems, but has evolved over the years.

The registered charity provides homemade lunches and entertainment for up to 20 members twice a week, but it has been scraping by with fundraising since its Norfolk County Council funding was cut last year.

On Saturday, we reported how it was expected to close at the end of the month, unless it could find another £1,000 to survive another year.

Volunteers said the club was a lifeline for many people who may otherwise feel isolated and alone at home.

Members of the centre said they came to enjoy 'the food, the games and the banter' at the club, which meets on Tuesdays at the Owen Barnes Room, in Breckland Road, and on Fridays at The Orchard Rooms, in Bullace Road.

Do you know anyone who could be helped by our Fighting for the Vulnerable campaign? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk