TRUSTEES from Chancery House day care centre in Bridport have agreed to sell part of the premises to ensure its future.

Nine trustees met on Tuesday and agreed, with one abstention, to sell off a one-bedroom flat and the chiropody and hairdressing facilities on the left of Chancery Lane.

They also agreed to set up a ‘Friends of Chancery House’ scheme to raise money.

Trustee chairman Barbara Vousden said it had been a positive meeting with trustees thinking about what was best for the clients.

She said: “We are going to invite people to become a ‘friend’ because if the town hold Chancery House in the way I hope they do, they will want to keep it open.

“The whole point of this exercise is to maintain what we do because the other day centres in Bridport don’t offer what we do.

“We are trying to be optimistic.”

Trustee Roger Stoodley said they had decided to sell off the building because they could accommodate all the facilities, such as hairdressing, in their main building.

He said: “The money will give us a good reserve to tide us over until the funding from Dorset County Council is agreed.

“None of the services we offer will go, we are just going to retrench.

“Hopefully now we are going to act in a more commercial way to promote our services.”

Trustee and West Dorset district councillor Keith Day said they would also be launching a £50,000 appeal, headed by a local celebrity, as yet unnamed.

Cllr Day said: “Some of the money from selling off the building will go to making Chancery House more attractive, enhancing the place and doing some refurbishment work and with a little bit to keep us going.

“We had little or no choice, we have to make the best of our assets in order to continue for our clients and to encourage more clients to come.”

Cllr Day said they had until August with the current funding arrangements with Dorset County Council.

He said: “The county council payment for our services will continue but probably in a much lesser form and we don’t know the amount.

“It does make life difficult when a large proportion of your funding is withdrawn and you don’t know what it will be replaced with.

“It is sad we have had to do it but we have to be realistic, we had no choice, We want to attract more clients and we will have to spend some money to do that.

Jill Haynes, Dorset County Council cabinet member for adult social care, said: “Dorset County council currently contracts with Chancery House for 36 places per week at their day service in Bridport; this contract is due to cease at the end of August.

“Funding for the service after August is currently being discussed and agreed with Chancery House and will reflect the level of current service usage.

“This is likely to reflect a significant reduction for Chancery House as the number of people the local authority is supporting to attend their day service has reduced.

“This is largely due to people in receipt of a personal budget who are choosing alternative ways of securing support to meet their needs, day care is not a preferred choice for all.

“We are working closely with Chancery to help build a sustainable service which continues to meet the needs of the local people within the community.”