Published: 00:01, 26 June 2014
| Updated: 10:19, 26 June 2014
A day centre for elderly and vulnerable ethnic minority women has been saved just days before it was due to close.
Medway Council axed funding for the Izzat centre in Chatham in April and the last session was due to be held this month.
But now Orbit Housing, which owns the Apni Haweli building where the women meet twice a week, has agreed to allow the ladies to use the room free of charge, as long as some of its residents use the day centre.
Age UK will be assisting with transport and CVS Medway are trying to find a volunteer to support the group.
A spokesman for Medway Council said: “Over recent years attendance at the centre has been low, therefore we made a decision to cease funding and have been working with the small number of women to support them to find alternative arrangements.
"We are delighted that the owner, Orbit Housing, has agreed to allow the women to continue to use the space for their meetings.”
"The ladies are very happy about the decision and grateful the centre has been given the chance to carry on" Mr Singh Gill
Sucha Singh Gill, chairman of the Kent Multicultural Community Association, wrote to Medway Council to object to the closure. He is delighted the centre is staying open.
He said: “I would like to say on behalf of the ladies of Izzat Day Centre that they are very happy about the decision and are grateful that the centre has been given the chance to carry on.
"We are all very grateful in particular to councillors Vince Maple and Adam Price who have gone to great lengths to help the ladies.
"I think it is crucial that we do everything we can to promote better relationships between communities, across cultures and across the authority.”
The group, which has been running for more than 20 years, was set up to reduce the isolation of older people from black minority ethnic groups.
It has met every Monday and Thursday at the Apni Haweli building in Clover Street since 2007, with transport provided to and from the centre.
It cost Medway Council around £75,000 a year to run.
Cllr Price, who submitted a petition against the closure, said: “Medway Labour rolled up their sleeves and worked in partnership with the ladies of the centre, Medway Ethnic Minority Association, Kent Multicultural Community Association and council officers to produce a win-win outcome.”
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