A WILTSHIRE community club that caters for elderly, disabled and vulnerable local people is facing the threat of closure because it is running out of cash.

The Maple Grove Community Day Centre lunch club has been registered as a charity for 40 years come September.

It caters for around 8-10 people on Wednesdays but is now struggling to carry on after its grants from Wiltshire Council were slashed.

The club has so far been unable to apply for a share of a £1.5 million budget for day centre and friendship clubs under a new ‘open framework’ because it found the process too complex.

The club’s organiser, Robert Greenwood, is now appealing to local businesses to help provide the money they desperately need to save it from closure.

He said: “We are currently very short of funds to keep going and this is due to the changes that Wiltshire Council had brought in.

“They had brought it where anyone in the country could apply for these contracts.  I am very computer savvy but found it very hard to understand how to apply.

“Another thing is if you get the contract, you are not guaranteed clients. You only get funding if they send you clients.

“We are struggling to pay for the rent of the room, bus hire and we have not got a cook to cook the meals for them.

“The members like it because we provide food cooked on the premises and we have seating which the other lunch clubs do not.”

Up to 32 lunch and friendship clubs across Wiltshire are being threatened with closure after Wiltshire Council decided to remove £106,000 of grant funding.

The county authority has cut its grants by half in the 2022-23 financial year, with plans to remove them entirely in 2023-24.

From April 2022, the clubs have had the opportunity to bid to join a list of council-vetted providers of day care under an open framework policy.

Councillor David Vigar, the Wiltshire Council ward member for Trowbridge Grove, said: “Clubs like this one are a lifeline for older people at risk of isolation. They provide food, company and fun and cost less than formal day care.

“Taking away their grants was a mistake in my view but now the focus has to be on trying to help them find the funds they need to carry on with this highly valued service.”

Wiltshire Council Richard Clewer leader said earlier this year that it was not a cut in funding, but a way of finding a more "equitable" system.