Brandon Day Centre is saved from closure

Patrick Gammons, from Lakenheath, was one of many people who were concerned about the centre closing earlier this year ANL-160817-165208009
Patrick Gammons, from Lakenheath, was one of many people who were concerned about the centre closing earlier this year ANL-160817-165208009

A new operator has been found to take over the running of Brandon Day Centre from January next year.

The centre, currently run by Orbit Housing, was built using £250,000 raised by Brandon residents.

People from as far as Mildenhall and Lakenheath use it, but it was facing closure if new funding was not found by December 31.

Now Empanda, a social enterprise, has stepped in and will be taking it over from January 1, 2017.

It will continue to provide care for vulnerable people as well as respite for carers and plans to place a greater emphasis on the community by making use of its catering facilities and offering apprenticeships to young people.

West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock, who last month vowed to do all he could to save the centre in Warren Close, said: “This is wonderful news that Empanda will take on the future operations of the Brandon Day Centre and that its doors will remain open to the community.

“The centre is a vital asset to those vulnerable people who use it as well as for carers who occasionally might require respite care for their loved ones.

“The new plan for greater use by the community is also to be welcomed with the addition of a café, meeting rooms and the opportunity to engage with local youngsters by means of apprenticeships.

“Congratulations for a job well done to those who raised money to have the centre built in the first place and to those who campaigned and fought so hard to find a new operator so that the centre may continue to serve the people of Brandon.”

Cllr Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for adult care said: “The search for a new provider came about as a result of the current provider (Orbit East) giving notice that they planned to withdraw services. This rightly raised a lot of concern in the Brandon area.

“Working closely with MP Matthew Hancock and understanding the concerns of the local community, the council has negotiated with new provider Empanda to take over services in the centre when the current provider withdraws at the end of December.

“We understand Empanda’s approach will be focussed on delivering services in a sustainable way with a greater emphasis on community working in the future.

“There is also the possibility of offering more carers’ break opportunities such as a safe care (sitting service) from the building and using part of the venue as a space for carers, meetings and pop up café.

“We are pleased that there will be no break in service as a result of this negotiation. We are happy to be working with Empanda to enable future sustainability of the centre.”

The community are very supportive of the centre and will look to increase usage in the future while continuing to fund-raise to ensure its future.