Essex day centre raises food price to ‘balance books’

HOT meals for elderly pensioners will be subject to a price increase this year in order to meet rising day centre costs.

A price-hike of 25 per cent is being put in place at the Rowena Davey Day Centre in Great Dunmow so that the facilities’ balance sheet can be straightened out.

The centre, located on Chequers Lane, was in danger of making a loss for the first time as costs continue to rise.

Hampered by a shortfall in donations the Friends of Dunmow Day Centre, a group set up to help run the building, have raised meal prices by �1 (from �4 to �5) so that they can at least break even.

Group member Gwynn Davies said: “It still represents excellent value for money and hopefully the increase will put the day centre back into profit.”

The group has to give Uttlesford District Council 50 per cent of its profits to cover the running of the building including maintenance, utilities and cleaning.

A council spokesman said: “This contribution does not cover the whole cost of running the centre, which receives additional subsidy from the council.

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“However, the council is pleased to support the day centres and appreciates the hard work put in by volunteers.

“The meal prices at the Dunmow day centre have now been brought in line with the Saffron Walden day centre prices.”

Dunmow town councillor Michael Miller questioned whether the rise was too much especially at a time when financially people are struggling. He suggested that a smaller rise of 50p might be more acceptable.

But he was rebuffed by friends group spokesman Wendy Barron. “No one seems to be complaining,” she said. “In fact a lot of people have mentioned that they were surprised it has not gone up before.”

In total there are five day centres in the Uttlesford (Dunmow, Saffron Walden, Stansted, Takeley and Thaxted).

All of them provide a venue for social and recreational events for the benefit of people aged over 55. Hot meals and other refreshments are on offer and the centres are almost entirely run by volunteers.

IS �5 too much for a meal at Dunmow Day Centre? Write to us at 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 1EE or e-mail us at