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Sotheby day centre family’s sadness at closure of their lifeline

01 September, 2017

Over-65s are campaigning to save Sotheby Mews day centre

• THE Roundhouse Community Centre in Ronalds Road, Highbury, which was closed around nine years ago, is being rebuilt and is due to open in Spring next year, providing a day centre for older people and facilities for young people and toddlers.

This means that the services currently provided for older people at Sotheby Mews Day Centre will end as staff are transferred to the Roundhouse. But the services, including the luncheon club, will continue in the new centre. Disabled elders will still be picked up in the minibuses, as they are now.

On paper, as long as the services are maintained the changeover from one to the other seems logical and not a problem. Both sites are in Highbury East ward. But things are never so simple.

All thoughts of Sotheby’s closure are a matter of great sadness for the “family” of older people who go there every week, if not every day. Many see Sotheby as a lifeline, and it is understandable that a committee of users and supporters is campaigning to save Sotheby.

Nobody should doubt that the common purpose of both the users of Sotheby Mews, their families and friends, the council and providers of the services (Highbury Roundhouse Association, which pays the current staff at Sotheby Mews) is to maintain services in the face of the government’s austerity measures (£95million cuts to Islington Council already, with more to come).

One proposal is that the ground floor of the new housing development planned for the Sotheby site could be a community centre. However, even if that is possible, there will be a gap between the transfer of services to the Roundhouse and the housing development at Sotheby Mews. It would be very sad indeed if the Sotheby people stopped using the services.

In the meantime, Islington Pensioners Forum sees there is an access problem with the Roundhouse. It is situated at the Highbury Fields end of Ronalds Road, meaning that there is quite a walk from bus stops at Highbury Corner, Highbury Grove and Holloway Road.

Therefore, we are asking the council, Highbury Roundhouse Association and Sotheby Mews users and supporters to join us in a request for a bus service (there used to be a hop-on-hop-off bus) so that older people can have easy access to services at the new Roundhouse when it opens.

We hope that your readers will support us.

Secretary, Islington Pensioners Forum


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