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The Proposed Closure of St Mary's Haven Day Centre

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Patricia Lynch, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. Patricia Lynch

    Patricia Lynch

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    Hello everyone
    ::8:SAY NO TO THE CLOSURE OF ST MARY'S DAY CARE CENTRE IN PENZANCE

    As many of you will know there is currently a very forceful and passionate campaign happening in Penznace to stop the proposed closure of St Mary's Day Care Centre, where nearly 50 elderly attendees are looked after by 9 committed staff. if the closure goes ahead - it will happen this Friday 26th Feb!

    We need to act quickly!!

    There are several things you can do to help us prevent this closure which will be devastating for the elderly attendees and their families.

    You can attend the public protest meeting on Weds this week - details on the header of the home page of this web site.

    You may have already signed a petition to stop this happening, there have been hard copy petitions all around Penzance town over the weekend and last count was well over 2000 - if you haven't - let me know and I can tell you where you can find a petition to sign now.

    You may have signed up on our Facebook Page if you haven't and you are a member of Facebook, please sign up as a friend now on the Friends of St Mary's haven Page - direct link:
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=290220505722

    we are nearly up to 500 friends on this page

    Visit our on line Petition - A direct link to the petition is:

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/savestmaryshaven/

    Visit our new website and pledge support and learn more about the campaign at:

    http://savestmaryshavendaycentre.wordpress.com

    Please help us keep this valuable community facility open - it was started nearly 30 years by the Presentation Sisters, who worked so hard to make it truly a Haven for old people - we must keep it open!

    Thank you for any assistance you can give.

    Patricia
     
  2. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  3. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    When I consider the dedication and enthusiasm displayed in the building of the Roman Catholic Church, and when I consider that St Mary's Haven shares a commonality with a person in charge of The Bolitho School that had gone into administration, it appears to be a 'clash' of human ideals and capabilites. They were made of 'different stuff' from that which surrounds our present world. To deny any future plans for the site is clearly a piece of misinformation. No establishment is closed on a financial basis, without some aspect of the future of the building and or site having been discussed or even settled. Every site, occupied or empty carries an ongoing cost; that has to have been discussed, budgeted and consequences planned.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  4. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    I echo Treeve's feelings on this, excellent cause and I would encourage everyone to support St Mary's Haven.
    In fact I have already signed up to this group on Facebook and will sign the petition as well today.
    Excellent work Patricia!::7:
     
  5. Patricia Lynch

    Patricia Lynch

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    St Mary's Haven Day Care Centre

    Thanks alot for you support - really appreciated! Thanks for signing the petition too, we need all the help we can get.
    Patricia ;)
     
  6. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    Reading the Minutes of the Last Meeting, it would strongly appear that there are some serious questions that require written answers. The fact of a Trusteeship indicates a Sum to be administered, or a regular such amount of income into a Charity. Just how answerable to The Charity Commission is all of this? It strikes me as highly irresponsible to allow this to escalate without fair warning. If the Charity is not 'running at a loss', wherein does the problem lie? To issue letters of Redundancy shows a strong level of commitment to the Closure by The Trustees. Perhaps I am wrong, but it was my impression over the years that Trustees had a direct responsibility to attempt to provide the best possible outcome. Bolitho School was taken into administration over a claim for a 'mere' half million overdraft. To me this has an air of irregularity about it. Notwithstanding the disregard for those that need the place and the irresponsibility in general management and common decency towards Mother Philomena.
     
  7. Patricia Lynch

    Patricia Lynch

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    Thanks a lot for your interest - we (the opposition to closure) have had similar thoughts to the ones expressed above - please go to the open letter to the Trustees by Bernard Condon (Nephew of the founding sisters) and you will see that Bernard raises these issues with the trustees - go to :
    http://savestmaryshavendaycentre.wordpress.com/

    and look on the home page Blog Roll on right hand side - i think you will find it an interesting letter.

    Kind regards

    Patricia
     
  8. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    Thankyou Patricia.
    It certainly rings out that 'they have picked on the wrong man' to upset with their silence; Mr Condon sees things as they are. The fact that one of the Trustees was involved in the failure of another enterprise that had to be rescued beggars questions. So, this was a specific fund. That carries legal responsibilities as Mr Condon is clear on that. I spent years in handling delicate matters of similar merit.
    I urge all those unaware of the import to read Mr Condon's Open Letter. When my wife was Treasurer and President of the Women's Institute Branch it was absolutely clear that Charity funds were not to be donated to another registered Charity. I am not privy to the 'Charitable Gifts' description but they do appear to be excessive in the circumstances given and those in hand.
     
  9. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    Andrew George has been handed the dubious pleasure of having to make the official announcement on BBC that the Haven will close. The Trustees are refusing to make any statement or answer any questions.
    They have now admitted to having made plans for the building's future use. But surely that depends upon the registered owner of the building not upon the abandoned defunct Trusteeship? They only exist whilst accounts are being finalised for closure. Inland Revenue will of course be involved, as will the Charity Commissioners.
     
  10. pendarves

    pendarves

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    St. Mary's Haven Day Care Centre

    It appears that the Trustees have planned some form of future use for the Day Care centre. Presumably this will require a change of use to be approved by County Planning. What are the chances of the application being scuppered?
     
  11. pendarves

    pendarves

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    St. Mary's Haven

    As far as I am aware, the entire Haven is not being closed - just the Day Care centre.
     
  12. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    @pendarves - So, I have misunderstood the events? I rather got the idea from the Open Letter that the Charity itself was closing with the Day Centre. That then depends purely upon the stipulations emplaced within the Internal Charity Purpose and Aims and the regulations within the document to achieve those aims. A different matter altogether. It still requires consultation with the Charity Commissioners.
     
  13. pendarves

    pendarves

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    St. Mary's Haven

    treeve:

    It seemed to be made very clear at the public meeting yesterday (24th) that the Respite Centre and the Residential Centre are unaffected by the Trustees decision to close the Day Centre.

    It was also stated that the Trustees set up a Company Limited by Guarantee in Feb 2009 to replace the previous Trust presumably to avoid the trustees being personally liable for losses - which is not unreasonable in this day and age.

    I was also very concerned to hear about the failure of the Trustees to communicate to the wider community the details of their reasons for their decision. Such a failure smacks of arrogance. It seems perfectly obvious that there is a plan to turn the Day Centre facilities into some other activity. One must assume that - being a business operation - any change of use of the Day Centre will require planning permission and, possibly, the approval of the Charities Commission.
     
  14. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    Your deduction is spot on.....
    Worth checking with companies house and have a closer look at the mems and arts.
    Also take a deep look to see if they have closed down the ability to have members voted on to the directors board ::1:
     
  15. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    I am at a loss to understand just what is going on here, but it defies everything that I have handled previously in connection with some thirty charities over 35 years. What may be described as 'not unreasonable' would have been considered reprehensible in my time. I have retired from what I see as a heartless evil world run by people with questionable agendas, weak plans and hiding behind a framework of rules and regulations devised to protect themselves from the responsibilty with which they have been entrusted by good people. I have seen unspeakable distortions of the truth and could take no more in my already difficult life. I had no wish to be tainted by these unsavoury people. A thorough investigation is your answer.
     
  16. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    Chris Goninan

    PRESS CALL FOR ACTION WOULD YOU ACCEPT THIS FOR YOUR PARENTS?

    St Mary's Haven, an Independent, Day Care Centre in Penzance will close for the last time today. It was formed about 25 years ago by nuns who have delivered tender loving care, company (so important today with many elders becoming lonely and isolated), warmth and a hot nutritional meal to vulnerable elders in this one of the most deprived districts within the country. Penwith is 21st most deprived out of 354 English districts.

    The reason for the closure is that the nuns who dedicated their retired years and wages to the establishment of this centre and then the delivery to hundreds, nay I would think thousands of vulnerable and frail elders, have all passed away apart from one, who is very frail and sick, and the new lay trustees state that then centre cannot be sustained with the predicted loses. However a business man from Northern Ireland, a nephew of some of the nuns, Bernard Conden, has pledged that he will cover the losses of the centre for a year while a thorough review is carried out to determine the sustainability of the centre. The community have seen this as a way forward, however this was refused by the Trustees yesterday and this precious resource to Penzance and surrounding area looks like being lost for ever. The people of Penzance find this very difficult to understand, as do I. The Centre has an active band of volunteers who would do anything to protect their precious resource but have had their hopes torpedoed by what they think and believe is a hidden agenda. This Centre has a wonderful name and is has done so much for the Catholic Church in Penzance area but now the Church is not the good Samaritan and is passing by on the other side of the road. Why? Why? Why?

    This afternoon the doors will be closed for the last time and these vulnerable elders will be offered the other care home in Penzance or residential/nursing home placements if they are funded by Cornwall Council Adult Care and Support. Cornwall Council only fund those on substantial or critical care so those who are low or moderate will be signposted elsewhere. What will happen to these people? Does any one care? A number of these people are in their nineties and one is a centenarian. As one gets older then change becomes harder to cope with and I believe that many who go to the Haven at present, what a wonderful name for a centre for vulnerable people, will decide enough is enough and stay at home becoming lonely and isolated.

    With Government agenda now on people remaining at home we must put into our communities the care and support so that the lives of elders are enriched and not left with the last years of the life trying to cope with same four walls and television playing all day scenario. Lets all cut out the bull, especially those who can influence delivery of services, and start putting people and their needs first. Care, I believe, means a wrap around service I am afraid that elders only have a small percentage of their body covered. It is not good enough and must be addressed. I always use as the bench mark would I accept this for my parents. The answer in no and I also know that those who are responsible for the delivery of services would also say the same. So lets do something about it and that begins with each and every one of us but especially to those in power. You the media are very powerful and with a sustained campaign we can improve elders lives and in this case could start to influence providers and in this case the Church who should be there shepherding the sheep and not scattering them with the older ones left alone.

    These elders are so committed to their centre that they plan a sit in this afternoon. Please tell their story, please do all you can to influence the people of this country that this not good enough and needs intervention from the highest possible level.

    Chris Goninan Cornwall Councillor
    St Just Electoral Division
    Champion for Older People in Penwith
     
  17. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    Press Statement by The Friends of St. Mary’s Haven Day
    Centre Penzance


    40 of Cornwall’s Greatest Celebs gather for party .... !

    A Party for 120 guests will be held next Wednesday March 24th, at Marazion Community Hall, to celebrate 26 years of loving care of the elderly, by the wonderful people at the former St. Mary’s Haven Day Centre in Penzance.
    Forty of Cornwall’s celebrities are invited to attend as guests of honour – former attendees of St. Mary’s Haven Day Centre
    ranging in age from their 70’s to 100 year old Kay Rodder. Due to the now questionable closure of St. Mary’s Haven Day
    Centre by its Trustees, the Celebration cannot be held in their beloved Day Centre in Penzance. Difficulties in finding a venue with the crucial wheelchair & disabled facilities like St. Mary’s Day Centre proved a problem, but the wonderful goodwill and welcome from the people of Marazion, will ensure that Penzance’s elderly won’t be disappointed.
    It’s going to be a great Celebration and tremendous excitement is building. For many of the elderly it will be their first day out since the closure of St. Mary’s Day Centre on February 26th. Sadly since closure, many of the elderly remain isolated in their own homes, as the Trustees did not consider nor seemingly care what would happen to them following closure.
    All media, television, radio and newspapers are invited – indeed you will all probably remember many of the faces and characters that you interviewed in the weeks and days leading up to the closure. They are always asking after you constantly ! “Oh that lovely young man” ... “he was so nice” ... “oh that lovely young woman” ... “I’ve never been on the telly before & I was so nervous, but she was great.” They want you to come if you can make it – they are all bubbling with excitement to see you again. Some sad stories since closure – the human kind - but for a day at least all that can be forgotten.

    Venue: Marazion Community Centre, Shop Hill, Marazion, TR17
    0HW. Tel: 01736 719118. Wheelchair & disabled access and facilities.
    Time: 10:30am. A Service will be held at 11:15am, followed by lunch and the ‘Celebration Cake’, concluding about
    3:30pm. The Party will mirror events of a normal a day as they would have happened at St. Mary’s Haven Day Centre.
    Dress Code: Just bring a smile ... !

    Event Organiser Contact: Rosemary Pollard - Telephone: 07855 120027
    Notes:
    A substantial & growing community campaign is under way to reverse this closure. The Penzance Community is unshakable in its belief there is a great need for a day-centre that is suitable for all, whatever their disabilities, to provide care, companionship and friendship and to enable our elderly to live out the end of their life with dignity. The Penzance Community is determined to achieve reinstatement of this service.
    Over £121,000 has been pledged within 30 days.
    The Trustees of St. Mary’s Havens claimed “Substantial losses over the last 4 – 5 years” as reason for closure – Their published accounts demonstrate this claim is untrue. Trustees subsequently claimed “Substantial projected future losses” as reason for closure. They are now unable to support the detailed figures behind these claims.
    The Trustees rejected two independent offers to cover any deficit to the running costs of the Day Centre for a year, which would allow breathing space for a proper review.
    The Trustees closed the Day Centre in most heartless, callous and cruel fashion;
    • Only 20 days notice was granted. Despite pleas from Cornwall Council, they would not grant any extension to this
    notice, which would have allowed it to find alternative provision for all of the elderly disadvantaged by closure. Some are now isolated in their own homes.
    • None of the Trustees attended the closure of the Day Centre.
    Trustees stated publicly that they had no proposed use for the Day Centre Building following closure.
    Trustees on BBC Radio Cornwall, publicly invited a proposal which would have seen a Community-led Organisation lease the empty Day Centre building, to provide Day Care services without financial risk to the Trustees. The Trustees clearly and publicly stated they would consider this. However within 24 hours they subsequently and cynically rejected this, just in advance of the Community Proposal being submitted.
    The Trustees subsequently stated that they did have a proposed use for the Day Centre Building.
    As a result of the Trustees behaviour, the inescapable conclusion & public perception is that the Trustees orchestrated the closure of the Day Centre for ulterior motives.
    The Trustees have shown total disregard for the Community. The Community has a moral & vested interest, having provided much of the funding & resources for the Day Centre and is very angry at the contempt shown for the elderly.
    Background Links:
    BBC
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cornwall/8551884.stm
    BBC Laurence Reed (Start Timeline at 3:45)
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p006qwjx/Laurence_Reed
    _10_03_2010/
    The Cornishman
    http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/news/ends-tears-centre-closesdoors-
    time/article-1882200-detail/article.html
    Western Morning News
    http://www.thisiswesternmorningnews.co.uk/news/Day-centreusers-left-tears-doors-shut/article-1871371-detail/article.html
    The Rt. Hon. Andrew George M.P.
    http://www.andrewgeorge.org.uk/index.php?p=St%20Marys%20Haven%20DH
    http://www.andrewgeorge.org.uk/index.php?p=St Marys Haven%20-%20offer%20remains
    Contact Person for this Statement:
    Bernard Condon;
    e-mail or Telephone: 028 8164 7671 - Mobile Telephone: 07775
    596273
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  18. stilton12

    stilton12

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    Despicable though the charity's lay trustees are in their callous attitude and total contempt for the staff employed in the day centre - and be very clear, their delight in getting rid of the day centre staff under Rosemary, was grotesquely obvious, and clearly worth in their eyes the £30,000 of the Charity's precious money for the redundancy pay-off. No, in my view it's the two RC priests on the board of trustees who take my biscuit for this heinous vandalism. In particular the Monsignor, who knows the history and extraordinary efforts of this project from the very start, having been our parish curate in the 70s. Of course, everything material that the nuns achieved and accumulated in their lifetime, becomes on their death, the property of the church; specifically in this case the Plymouth Diocesan Trust, whose board of trustees has been chaired by RC Bishop Christopher Budd for the past 25 years, and one of its most senior trustees is none other than the very same Monsignor of this Haven charity. The explanation that one of the trust's charitable gifts, that of £20,000 to the RC church next door, was at the dying bequest of Sister Bernard to re-decorate the church in remembrance of the Presentation Sisters, is frankly grotesque. For three reasons: even if she wanted to (those who knew her will know that is ridiculous), it was not her money to bequest. Furthermore, the trustees chose to take the donation out of the Day Centre's Bank Account, which according to the trustees, is the one element of the Charity that could least afford to be raided. And here is the cruelest stroke: The trustees say they are going to put a plaque in the church to credit the Presentation Sisters with this act of material glorification of the church walls and organ pipes, which history will show was at the expense of the Day Centre part of the charity that the nuns spent 26 years building and running - how cruel is that?. Ask yourselves, if Sister Bernard's dying bequest had been to gift £20,000 to a venture unassociated with the RC Church, do you honestly think the Bishop would have honoured it? No, in my opinion the trustees have had their orders from the Bishop, and the lay-trustees are impementing it callously and with much glee, the Monsignor is there, but at arms length, to ensure the Bishops orders are obeyed, and the relatively new parish priest, as the chairman of the haven trustees, is rather caught in the middle, and totally distraught at how his hand-washing has torn his parish apart. The Parish and the wider community who got behind Mother Philomena then and now are incandescent about this, and are not about to give up their fight. 100's of thousands of £'s have been fund-raised to light up this vision, and at a stroke, the trustees are letting it fizzle out, without raising so much as a little finger. Mother Philomena and her Order are worth much more than this to us. Bishop Budd, it has been said by the Monsignor, that we'll all be friends again when the dust settles. Well rest assured, here's a promise: when the dust settles, it will still be glowing and not just in remotest Kernow.
     

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