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Lifeline for Balfour Centre in Rochester?

Campaigners have been fighting to save the Balfour Centre
Campaigners have been fighting to save the Balfour Centre

by Alan McGuinness

Campaigners fighting to save the Balfour Day Centre have been thrown a lifeline after a dramatic last-minute twist.

Medway Community Healthcare had lodged an 11th-hour bid to run the Rochester unit, which is used by hundreds of disabled people and has been earmarked for closure by Medway Council.

Councillors are expected to extend a public consultation to examine the proposal at a cabinet meeting tomorrow.

The bid by the organisation, which is independent from the NHS but provides health and social care services, was lodged on Thursday - just hours before the end of an eight-week public consultation.

On the same day, banner-waving protesters descended on the council's offices at Gun Wharf in a last-ditch attempt to save the centre, in Pattens Lane.

The proposed closure sparked outrage among users, staff and their families, who have held several protests and circulated numerous petitions since the plans were announced in November.

More than 7,000 have pledged their names to keep the Balfour Centre open, claiming they will have nowhere to go if it closes.

For the full story and reaction, see today's Medway Messenger, on sale now.

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