Council looks to take on vital community service

Uttlesford District Council is making arrangements to take on the management of a vital service to ensure it remains open for the community.

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The Garden Room (Saffron Walden Day Centre) offers hot meals, refreshments and social activities for older or disabled residents. Whilst the building on Hill Street is council-owned, the centre has been run by an independent volunteer-led management committee as a charity for many years.

However, the council has been contacted by the management committee to say that due to financial constraints the charity is no longer in a position to continue running the centre and intends to stop the service from 1 January 2019.

To ensure the continuation of the service, the council is working towards an agreement that would see the staff and running of the centre transferred from the charity to the council.

It is hoped the arrangements will be finalised shortly. The intention is to have the centre re-opened by the end of January and, in due course, to reinstate the popular chair-based exercise classes which have been running at the Garden Room since July 2016. Further details will be available on the council website at and at the centre.

Cllr Vic Ranger, Cabinet Member for Communities & Partnerships, said: "The day centres are an invaluable resource as they provide a safe and welcoming environment for the people who use them, including some of the most vulnerable residents in our communities.

"That is why we are working closely with the current management committee to resolve the situation at the Garden Room. By taking on the management of the centre we will be able to ensure the same excellent service can be delivered for the members of our community who rely on it as a place where they can socialise and meet other people."

Residents and users of the centre should note that there may be a reduced service for a limited period of time once the centre reopens while the full arrangements are put into place.

However, the centre is still available for hire and private parties as normal. 

For further information or to book, visit

17 December 2018