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Club saved by £10k gift

PUBLISHED: 10:56 06 February 2009 | UPDATED: 12:58 03 July 2010

Members of Cobholm Visually Impaired Persons Club

Members of Cobholm Visually Impaired Persons Club

Dominic Bareham

VISUALLY impaired club members are “over the moon” after a health service provider saved their club by giving them £10,000 to keep their minibus on the road.

VISUALLY impaired club members are “over the moon” after a health service provider saved their club by giving them £10,000 to keep their minibus on the road.

Great Yarmouth and Waveney NHS has provided the Yarmouth Visually Impaired Persons Club (VIPs) with enough funding for a year's transport for the 23 members - and there is the chance of more NHS money.

The grant represented a triumph for the club's secretary Carole Rogers who has fought for the last seven months to get money after Norfolk County Council's adult social services department decided to cut its funding for the bus, leaving the club facing the prospect of closure.

She said: “It is good news, but it has taken a long time so obviously it is nice to know somebody felt we were worth it. It has been a long hard slog and there was no way social services were going to change their mind.

“But we have got the grants now, we have got the money secured and all we have got to do now is get the bus in place.

“The club members are over the moon with what the NHS has done. They have been worrying ever since we had to tell them that the club was in danger of closing because we have not got any transport.”

More good news came from the Norfolk Community Foundation which has provided the club with an extra £4,720 for outings, entertainments and birthday parties for the members.

The VIPs club caters for 22 people aged between the mid 60s and 90s who travel from as far afield as Belton, Bradwell, Gorleston, Caister and Hemsby to the town for the chance to socialise and play cards and dominoes.

But the future of the group was put in jeopardy in June after social services decided to cut its £6,200 a year transport funding following a review of adult social service provision by the Eastern Locality Steering Group.

The review recommended changing to a system of direct payments into club members' bank accounts to use as they saw fit, rather than giving it to the club.

The government had called for the change to a direct payment system because the review found service users wanted more control over the social service money to arrange their own services.

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