The Cookstown charity that advises and provides meals for hundreds of elderly locals is moving its luncheon club to the town’s Enterprise Centre.
Opportunities for Older People (040), which has been operating from premises on Oldtown Street for the past five years, has taken the bold step in order make monthly savings of over £1,000.
From May onwards 040 services will be provided from two separate locations, with an office being set up in its shop in the town and the luncheon club and Meals on Wheels provision moving to a unit at Cookstown Enterprise Centre.
Determined not to let the decision to move affect customers, charity President and one of 040’s founding members, Margaret Gilbert, told the Mail a bus will be provided to take them the two miles to the new luncheon club base.
The decision to move was brought on by rising costs and the charity’s efforts to save money where it could.
“We had two choices,” explained Mrs Gilbert.
If we stayed where we are would have gone bankrupt - 040 President Margaret Gilbert
“One - stay and go bankrupt - that would mean anything between 70 and 80 people in the district getting no dinners, 20 or 30 sit-ins having to go somewhere else.
“The second choice was to split the office.”
Having made the decision to move, the charity has been working hard to get its new premises ready.
As well as installing a new kitchen at the Enterprise Centre unit, 040 has had the painters in and a gas man has installed a cooker that was donated by a Lissan vintage group around five years ago.
“The painter has the dining room, the workroom, the passage, the office and all painted for us,” Mrs Gilbert said.
As for how members will reach the new premises, she added: “We are going to ask them to walk to the shop and the bus will take them out.
“The carry-outs will go out as usual and by doing that we will save £1,200 a month.
“You need to have a bit of money behind you to back you up. We have a funding account but we have very little in it.”
If you would like to support 040, contact project manager Gemma Glasgow at email@example.com
What club members think about the move
The Mid Ulster Mail visited 040’s luncheon club to find out how members were taking the impending move, as some are facing the prospect of taking an extra bus to get their lunch.
One lady who attends the luncheon club told the Mail: “As long as we get a meal I don’t care where it is - I can get the mini bus if I want to, and I couldn’t run the car out for £2.”
Another member added: “At first everyone thought it was an upheaval. A lot didn’t like it because it was on an industrial centre but thinking on it, it has been the only option.
“It’s either have it smooth and keep everything running or the club closing and us having nowhere to go - so I would be in favour of the move.”
“I know it has to be done as their is nothing else for it,” another member added. “Hopefully it’s only a temporary move and we’ll be back in town very soon.”