The future of Wellingborough day care centre Glamis Hall is looking more hopeful following “very positive” talks last week.
Council leader Cllr Paul Bell met campaigners Heather Saunders and Joanne Peploe on Thursday to discuss a way forward for the service, with the campaign group Save Glamis Hall for All looking to take over the building after the council closes it at the end of the year.
Cllr Bell said: "We had a very positive meeting with the campaign group last week. We were able to sit down and discuss in detail how it could work next year, and a much clearer picture has emerged from those talks.
"The council has made the decision to close the centre and stop the day care service. This has been a drawn out and very difficult decision, and not one that was wanted by any member of this council. There are very valid reasons why it was the right decision to make, but we need to move on from those now and work with the campaign group to see if a way forward can be found.
"I am incredibly impressed with the work the group has put into finding a solution. Their commitment and passion was clear when we met last week. They’ve put a lot of thought into their plans and it’s very inspiring to see."
The next stage in the process is for the campaign group to present their business plan to councillors at an informal meeting next Monday (27 October) before the resources committee considers it in more detail and makes a recommendation on the future of the centre to the full council.
Cllr Bell continued: "The gist of what the campaign group is looking for is that we transfer the building to them and give them a capital grant to help make it fit for purpose. I’m hopeful this can be explored in more detail at the meeting next week and that a positive and workable way forward can be put to council later this year."
Campaign leader Heather Saunders said: "We left the meeting last week feeling like we were listened to and our ideas were taken seriously. We feel a lot more positive about the future.
"We do understand that the council is unable to continue to run the service at Glamis Hall, and we appreciate that they are willing to help others that may be able to take it on. I believe that we want the same thing – for the service to carry on – and we need to work out how to make that happen.
"Glamis Hall means a lot to our community, as has been shown by the level of support we’ve received, and we are prepared to put in the work to see if we can help it continue. There’s still a lot of detail to consider, but we definitely feel we’re on the right track now."
Both the council and the Save Glamis Hall for All committee will start preparatory work straight away if the business plan is received positively next week, although no formal paperwork can be entered into until a decision is made by the full council.