’This place is more than just a day centre’

clients at the Calder Valley Club are sharing nibbles and wine. There’s music in the background and a buzz around the room.

This could be a party – but this isn’t a celebration.

Family and friends arranged the meeting at the club in Burnley Road, Mytholmroyd to discuss what will happen if they lose their contract with Calderdale Council.

Each day service provider has been told they have to reapply for their contract.

The Calder Valley Club contract ends on March 31 but has been renewed until May 31.

If their contract is not renewed, they will start winding down the service from the end of March.

While the clients have to be given a spot somewhere in Calderdale none of them want to move from the place they call their lifeline.

Doug Jones, 55, is blind. He uses the club four times a week. “It offers me friendship with people in the same shape as me.”

Since joining the club he has joined a visually-impaired bowls team and become club champion.

He has a simple message for the people who will decide where to make cuts.

“They should start looking at us as normal as they are. They should try living our lives for a while.

“This is the only place I have got to go to. It’d finish me off completely if it went.”

Elaine Allen, 58 from Clifton was left unable to speak after a stroke ten years ago. Since then she has visited the club two days a week.

Her husband David, 59, said she would be devastated if it closed.

He said: “These are the only two days that Elaine comes out independently.

“These people are seen as the bottom of society. They have struggled for years to be able to get the benefits to live their lives.

“It’s a credit to the work of the carers, the people and the staff they’ve got those. Now they could be taken away.”

Stella Christie’s husband John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 12 years ago.

He attends the club twice a week. His visits are crucial for both of them.

Mrs Christie said: “It’s a life saver. It makes such a huge differentce.

“I don’t think the powers understand how much people who come here and their families and the staff need it.

“They’re going to lose so much more than a day centre.

“I don’t have to worry about him when he’s here.”

lDo you, or a member of your family, rely on a club such as this? Contact yoursay@halifaxcourier.co.uk