We’re sad this will be the last Christmas at Norwich’s Silver Rooms

Pensioners who use a Norwich day centre earmarked for closure have spoken of their sadness at what is almost certainly their final Christmas in the building they love.

The much-loved Silver Rooms and Essex Rooms were put forward for closure by bosses at Norfolk County Council in October last year, sparking a battle to keep them open.

While that fight was lost, Norfolk County Council did promise that replacement services would be provided and friendship groups would get to stay together.

The county council had promised new services would be provided through a partnership between Norfolk County Council, Age UK Norwich and Norwich City Council – potentially in sheltered housing and housing with care schemes around the city.

County Hall officers said those changes would allow friendship groups to stay together and would offer a wider range of facilities and activities in other places with possible locations including The Elms, Dell Rose Court, The Cedars, St James Sheltered Housing and Don Pratt Court.

The pensioners now accept they will be moving, but have been enjoying one last Christmas in the centres which mean so much to them.

Hilda Bullen, 82, from Wodehouse Street in Norwich, had been one of the leading campaigners fighting to keep the centres open and featured in the Evening News Fight For Our Day Centres campaign.

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Mrs Bullen attends the Silver Rooms, in Silver Road, in the north of the city, and said: 'We've had an interesting year! I am pretty sure that this will be our last Christmas here, unfortunately, but what was always most important to us was making sure we all got to stay together and enjoy ourselves.

'It is so important for people who haven't got anywhere else to go. We know we are going to have to go, so we are going to go with the flow.

'We have had a great Christmas, though. We are still here and we are all keeping ourselves going.'

James Bullion, assistant director (community care) at Norfolk County Council, said some of the pensioners at the Silver Rooms had already been trying out alternatives in other sheltered housing and housing with care schemes.

He said: 'It has already begun and some have already been going in a group. They have had introductory sessions there and we had canvassed the tenants who already live there to make sure they were happy with them coming to use the facilities.

'We do not have a hard and fast timescale for when they will all move and theoretically they could still be there next Christmas, but the way things are developing, then they are likely to be spending their time in their friendship groups elsewhere next year.'

He said the Silver Rooms are a bit further ahead than the Essex Rooms, which are in Essex Street, off Unthank Road.

Will you be sad to see the closure of the day centres? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk