WINCHCOMBE’S day care centre faces an uncertain future after half of its vital funding was cut.

The service was opened in 1984 by the late businessman Bob Adlard to support lonely or housebound people in the area and provides activities and meals for up to 24 people a day.

The majority of those who use the centre, which costs £72,000 a year to run and is open three days a week, are elderly or disabled.

But the £35,000 grant the service on Langley Road receives every year from the Social Services Directorate and the Primary Care Trust will be withdrawn next month following changes in government policy.

Under new proposals each of the centre’s members will have to apply for a means-tested grant and their daily £10 charge could more than double to £25.

John Gerrard, chairman of the trustees board, said: “We face a fairly uncertain future. If we haven’t got a critical amount of people we can’t run. It just won’t be worthwhile.”

The centre has been covering the additional £37,000 through members’ fees and fund-raising but needs about 20 people a day to make it viable.

Mr Gerrard said the centre had some money in reserve but that would only last for a short period of time and that about 50 per cent of members were refusing to apply for grants.

“A lot of people who are members are not prepared to be means-tested,” he said.

“As a result there is likely to be a significant shortfall in our annual funding and if we cannot resolve this we may have to close in a year or two once our reserves run out.”

Councillor Ron Harrison, chairman of Winchcombe Town Council, said money had been earmarked from council reserves to provide support if needed.

“It’s a service in the town that’s been there for many years,” he said. “It would be a great pity if it comes to an end.”

Helen Bown, joint commissioning manager for older people and physical disabilities at NHS Gloucestershire, said: “Winchcombe Day Centre is a valued resource in the community and we are working with trustees to try to ensure the centre remains viable into the future.”