DOZENS of elderly adults who used a day centre in Wallingford may not be able to use a new centre being created as part of a council reorganisation, it has been claimed.

Until now the town's health and wellbeing centre in Millington Road has run a day centre for the elderly, including the provision of daily cooked meals and a series of activities and trips.

But now a new centre for the elderly, and for adults with learning disabilities, has being created in High Street and pensioners are being assessed to see if they are eligible to use it.

The number of council-funded centres is being reduced from 22 to eight, to save £3.1m and the new High Street facility is due to open at the end of September as part of the shake-up, according to Wallingford county councillor Lynda Atkins.

She said: "Assessments of elderly people are now being carried out and I am concerned there could be dozens of elderly in the town who find themselves with nowhere to go as a result of those statutory assessments.

"There are serious concerns locally about how the new system is going to operate and the lack of alternative provision.

"We have always had a day centre in the town so alternatives have not been provided."

Sandy Tinson, chairman of the Friends of Wallingford Day Centre, said the building in Millington Road 'precisely met' the social and personal health needs of the elderly who attended the service.

She added: "As the friends' group we have raised funds to buy a piano, establish and furnish a garden, establish a reminiscence room and provide activities to benefit older people, particularly those with dementia.

"We are concerned the move will reduce this invaluable type of support.

"We are not convinced the new service will provide the most appropriate service for the elderly who currently attend the centre."

Mrs Tinson said the group received a letter from county council leader Ian Hudspeth which said the new service would provide 'flexible, person-centred support in appropriately equipped buildings'.

But she warned that there would no longer be cooked meals available for the elderly, the costs for the service could increase, and transport provision could change.

Mrs Tinson added she was pleased the building in High Street has been enlarged and it now provided a 'far better space' for clients who currently attend the Learning Disability Day Support Service.

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Paul Smith said earlier that the council’s new service would ensure that everybody with an eligible need would get the care and support they needed.

He added that the countywide service would have an annual budget of £4.5m.