Express & Star

Smethwick day care centre becomes lifeline for needy pensioners in cost-of-living crisis

A Smethwick day care centre has become a magnet for pensioners struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

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Paulette Suban with staff and visitors at the Cape Community Centre

The Cape Community Day Care Centre, Dudley Road, leases the community hall from The International Firstborn Church and is open to pensioners on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The Cape, a charity, was established 25 years ago, provides lunches and entertainment for 47 mostly frail and vulnerable pensioners with mental illnesses who are isolated in their homes.

Centre manager Paulette Fairin Suban believes the centre is even more important with inflation cutting into pensioner's budgets.

She said: "The centre’s service includes a healthy nutritious freshly prepared meals are cooked on the premises and deliver to eight house bound clients. We also offer a home 'visiting service’, digital intro, befriending, prescription & grocery collection service alongside youth creation youth club, cape tots parent and toddler group and cape food support.

"We focus on the development of individuals by encouraging users to participate within Extend Gentle exercise, mentally stimulative crafts and quarterly social outings to beautiful gardens and local historic sights.

"We also have quizzes, daily topics, domino's, health awareness informative and engagement topics such as Dementia, Diabetes, welfare rights and home aids."

The need to secure funds to keep the lifeline services going is a constant worry for centre management.

Paulette added: "The centre depends on the efforts and services of volunteers to continue deliver this service by the sale of our healthy delicious meals, fund raising concepts of table top and cake sales also business donations. We have successfully secured two or three funding partners to bridge the gap but this pot is dwindling.

"We are supported by Sandwell Social Services and Sandwell Community Transport, 60 per cent of clients have some form of mental illness such as dementia or physical disability."

The centre relies on volunteers and Paulette is inspired by their dedication, the recent Coronation was celebrated with a meal fit for a king, laid on by the veteran cooks.

She said: "The cooks of the centre are in their 70's who are very passionate and still want to contribute which is such an inspiration."

She said: "Our organisation is run by dedicated and talented team of volunteers and community members. With their loyalty and commitment the centre has developed into a thriving ‘home from home’, a friendly, warm and welcoming environment. Our trips are incredibly popular but without Volunteers they simply could not happen.

"We are also proud to host several students on Health and Social Care placements each year, gaining valuable experience. The centre, predominantly 95 per cent of users are African Caribbean decent but is open to all cultures."

She added: "The centre's aim and vision to to ensure 'that everyone matters' and 'To make their Golden years enjoyable' and to give the clients fond memories, feel apart of, connected, cared for and make them client's smile during the day, it is a day well spent."

For more information about the centre visit

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