BOSSES at a Black Country charity for the elderly have taken the “sad” decision to shut down their Stourbridge day care facility after losing vital funds and being hit with extra costs.

Age Concern Stourbridge and Halesowen is to close its day care centre based at the Mary Stevens Centre in Oldswinford at the end of the summer.

Chief officer Dionne Legge said existing clients who attend the facility, which has been going for 24 years, will be offered the chance to enjoy day care at the charity’s Green Lane centre in Blackheath.

But she described the decision to end the service in Stourbridge as “very upsetting”.

Up to six members of staff, some of whom have notched up many years with Age Concern, may also lose their jobs.

Dionne said: “It’s very sad. This is the only thing we can think to do to try and save day care.”

The charity was hit badly by the loss of its annual local authority grant, which took effect from April 1 this year, and on top of that Dudley Council bosses this year asked for £15,400 rent for the space used by Age Concern at the Mary Stevens Centre in Hagley Road which is managed by the authority on behalf of the Ernest Stevens Trust.

In previous years the charity had been permitted to use the centre free of charge but as the cash-strapped council tightened its belt – groups and organisations using the building were told they would have to pay.

Dionne said losing the funds and being hit with unexpected costs for the Mary Stevens Centre, in addition to bills at the charity’s Green Lane and Elton Centre sites, “all added up to be too much”.

She said day care charges had already been increased, plus meal prices at the Elton Centre, to help make ends meet but she added: “To make it really self-funding the costs would have to increase phenomenally.”

She stressed meals, activities, trips and holidays would continue to be offered at the Elton Centre, next to Stourbridge Interchange bus and train station, and that day care would continue to be provided at the Mary Stevens Centre until Friday September 1.

But she admitted it would be a challenge to encourage elderly clients to transfer to the day care centre at Green Lane.

She said: “It’s really upsetting. I feel for the clients and the staff.”

A three-week consultation regarding possible redundancies got underway yesterday (Monday July 3) – she added.