Update: The City of Bunbury voted unanimously at last week’s council meeting to provide $25,000 in funding to Bunbury’s Meals on Wheels and Senior Citizens Centre.
The funds will come from the City’s unallocated 2017/18 closing surplus.
A working group will also be devised to assist the centre’s finances and operations into the future.
The Working Group’s first business plan for the facility will be delivered to the council no later than February 28, 2018.
Centre treasurer Jacinta Thomson made an 11th-hour plea to the Council on Tuesday, November 14.
Ms Thomson outlined the centre’s value in the community and the need for a more sustainable financial plan.
Group pleas for increased funding
Bunbury Meals on Wheels and Senior Citizens Centre has called for $25,000 in immediate funding from the City of Bunbury.
The centre has requested immediate financial assistance, ongoing financial support and input from the council to ensure its doors remain open.
The request also calls for the centre to establish a working group to identify solutions to improve the centre’s future financial viability.
The working group would also develop a new business plan, to be submitted to council before February 28, 2018.
According the the City of Bunbury, the centre has been operating at a loss of $68,000 in 2015, $16,000 in 2016 and $50,000 in 2017 and does not have the resources to cover a $46,000 budgeted operating loss in 2018.
Centre manager Bev Buck provided explanations to the council for the centre’s operating losses including increased costs for the cafe’s operation, utility charges, wages and increased insurance premiums.
Meals on Wheels has provided a small surplus for the centre, despite no longer receiving Home and Community Care funding.
City of Bunbury officers found there appears to be no ‘one model’ used to operate the South West Seniors Citizen Centres.
Some are run independently while other are run by local government councils. Some receive operating subsides while some receive no formal funding.
The Bunbury council currently provides the Stirling Street premises to the centre on a peppercorn lease as well as covering building maintenance and upgrades.
The council will vote on the request for additional support at Tuesday, November 14’s meeting.