Old members leaving Sotheby Mews day centre, say users

Members of a day centre that was dramatically saved from closure have been drifting off after new management was brought in.

Pensioners are unhappy with the new setup at Sotheby Mews Day Centre, in Sotheby Mews, Highbury, according to the chairman of its users’ group.

Highbury Roundhouse took over from Age Concern Islington in April, after the centre was saved in a U-turn by Islington Council bosses, who had earmarked it for closure.

Henry Bourner, 78, of Birchmore Walk, Highbury, chairman of the Sotheby Mews Management Committee, said: “The old members are fading away, they say it’s just not the same. The atmosphere is totally different and it’s quite divided between the two groups. We used to have 25 to 30 people for bingo for example, but over the past two weeks it has been about half that.”

The members of Highbury Roundhouse’s own lunch club group have been brought in alongside the original Sotheby Mews users. Mr Bourner added: “At least we’re still open. It’s early days and it takes a bit of time to get things going.”

The council insisted attendance figures at Sotheby Mews have been steady since April.

Councillor Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s executive member for adult social services, said: “Sotheby Mews is well-attended. I have met some service users and am in discussions to make sure it is a welcoming place to all.”