Bunbury senior citizens centre to close if not funded

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury Meals on Wheels and Senior Citizens Association’s future is uncertain.
Camera IconBunbury Meals on Wheels and Senior Citizens Association’s future is uncertain. Credit: Graphic

Bunbury Meals on Wheels and Senior Citizens Association is facing imminent closure if calls for further financial help are not answered, according to manager Bev Buck.

The association is pleading for Bunbury City Council to provide ongoing annual funding to the struggling seniors centre.

It follows more than a year of financial struggles for the centre after it successfully pleaded for the council to provide immediate help in 2017 and 2018, worth $25,000 each.

Now, the centre is asking for ongoing funding and marketing support.

“The centre would face imminent closure without financial assistance from the city (council),” Mrs Buck told the South Western Times.

“Besides ongoing financial support, the centre would welcome assistance with promotion and marketing of the centre to hopefully increase membership and activities provided.”

The council previously supported the additional $50,000 subject to a business plan identifying solutions to improve the future viability of the centre.

A working group was formed and recommendations were put forward as part of the business plan.

In a report to the council by the working group, it states the centre should exist in some format but that the existing model was not working.

Mayor Gary Brennan said the council would make a decision next week, but the centre was “very valuable” to the community.

“It’s a fact, they are struggling and the council obviously wants to assist them and we’ve offered them assistance and others have volunteered their professional time to also give advice,” Mr Brennan said.

“Subject to next week, the recommendation is to assist with financial support, however not in the loss-making area which is their meals area.”

He said the centre was aware the ongoing financial support from the council was not a long-term solution and changes needed to occur.

The council will next week be recommended to authorise a three-year funding agreement worth $50,000 a year subject to progress reports on key performance indicators.

It has also been recommended to decline the centre’s request for marketing support with council officers saying marketing resources are required to focus on its communication and engagement strategy.

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