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Day centres to stay open for time being

PUBLISHED: 10:15 19 April 2008 | UPDATED: 20:11 05 July 2010

DAY centres in Beccles and Lowestoft which were due to close in August will stay open until a company can be found to take over the council-run service.

DAY centres in Beccles and Lowestoft which were due to close in August will stay open until a company can be found to take over the council-run service.

Suffolk County Council decided last March to privatise day care for the elderly, which it said would be cheaper and offer more choice.

The 16 council-owned day centres, including The Dell in Beccles and Blyford and Stradbroke Court in Lowestoft, were due to close this summer but now the council's attempt to find an independent partner to develop the homes and take over the running of the service has been delayed.

The county council's cabinet will be told on Tuesday, April 29 that debates over Ipswich's unitary bid, discussions with the Boundary Committee and new European regulations have caused a delay in the process and the council will not start looking for a voluntary sector or private partner to take over the running of its 16 homes until the future of the local government organisation is clear.

The council also has the opportunity to bid for up to £30m of Private Finance Initiative (PFI) funding from the Department of Health if it can submit a suitable business plan by May 31. A decision on whether to apply will be made by the cabinet on April 29.

In a report to the cabinet meeting, Graham Newman, the council's portfolio holder for adult and community services, said: “Maintaining the care-homes estate is costly. They are, by today's commercial standards, very small and inefficiently laid out...”

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