Future of drop in centre threatened as Letchworth GC Council says its office is closing
A drop-in centre for vulnerable people has become the first victim of the gradual closure of Letchworth Garden City Council. The group meets once a week in a room at the council s offices in Leys Avenue, but has been told the facility will not be availab
A drop-in centre for vulnerable people has become the first victim of the gradual closure of Letchworth Garden City Council.
The group meets once a week in a room at the council's offices in Leys Avenue, but has been told the facility will not be available after next week.
The council took the decision as part of its closure programme and confirmed the offices will close by December 31 as intimated in its Transition Plan.
But Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, after being told of the group's plight by the Comet, said it would look into the possibility of helping find alternative accommodation.
"This is great news and I will speak to them. A big thanks to the Comet for trying to help us," said Jackie Nealon, from the Jackmans Estate who started the drop in centre in January.
"I don't blame the council. They are closing the offices and have been very good to us and even given us tea and biscuits for the people who enjoy coming to our drop-in days on Tuesdays.
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"We are looking for a place where vulnerable people can meet and with winter here getting them off the streets is essential. There are so many vulnerable people of all ages who have found our centre a place where they can meet and find some pleasure in their lives.
"Instead of sitting around on benches in the town centre or in the pubs the centre has been a safe place for them to meet.
"Some of these men are very, very vulnerable and it is sad to see them. But we need to help them, care for them because they are at risk."
Stuart Kenny, director general of the Foundation, offered some hope for Mrs Nealon when he said on hearing of the group's plight: "The last contact the Foundation had with Jackie Nealon was on January 26.
"She then wanted to know if we had any suitable premises in the town centre that could be used as a place for her to take adults with learning difficulties - a sort of drop-in come open all hours place. We told her at the time there were no suitable premises.
"If she would like to ring our commercial property department to see if we have any suitable premises now, giving her full requirements, we can look into it for her and see if we have any available suitable premises."
Cllr George Ritchie, chairman of the council, said: "I can confirm the council's intention to close the office at the end of the year. Staffing issues are under discussion and it would be inappropriate to comment in that regard at this stage.