Freefield lunch club will close next month

The lunch club at the Freefield Centre is to close on 22nd May but the service will transfer to Islesburgh Community Centre.

The move was finally decided at a special council meeting today, with councillors unanimously agreeing to the closure. However an amendment from councillor Jonathan Wills that Islesburgh should be granted funding to help the new service to “bed in” was passed on the casting vote of convener Malcolm Bell.

Chairman of the social services committee Cecil Smith’s motion that Freefield close, and Dr Wills’s amendment, were tied at eight votes each. Dr Wills said it was “going to cost” Islesburgh to provide the new service, with possible changes to the building and to staffing. He pointed out that £80,000 was already being saved by closing Freefield, with £41,000 from the 2013/14 budget being held by director of community care Sally Shaw to cover assessments of needs.

Some of this money will now go to Islesburgh to enable the centre to provide the lunch club for Freefield users.

However some of the users of the club, who attended the meeting, were disappointed that they will have to move. They said the “heart would be torn” out of the lunch club and Islesburgh would not be “nearly as good”.

Dr Wills described the solution as “the best we could achieve”.

Full story and reaction in this week’s Shetland Times.


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