A DAY centre facing an uncertain future has secured funding for this year.

Continuation of East Lothian Council funding to the Hollies Day Centre in Musselburgh at the same level as previously has been described as “a step in the right direction” by its manager.

Although Liz Shannon welcomed the pledge of £81,000 for this year, she reiterated concerns about the long-term future of the facility in its present premises, where it provides a range of services for older people.

Fears were raised earlier this year that the Hollies might be forced to close or relocate as a new day centre facility could not be accommodated in the present High Street building.

Ms Shannon said “Our contract with East Lothian Council ran out at the end of the financial year in March. Six weeks after that we got a letter saying they would pay us two quarters until contracts were signed but no one approached us about signing contracts, so we had our last payment until now.

“The council is now saying they are still funding us at the same level. We are relieved to hear that we are to receive some further funding.

“The Hollies has to stay were it is to make it what it is.

“Now we can apply to major funders such as the Big Lottery Fund for the running costs and we are also hoping to get a hobby hub set up at the centre.

“It is vital to the elderly of Musselburgh that the Hollies stays where it is.”

Ms Shannon said the Care Inspectorate had been asked to visit the premises, possibly at the end of the month, to see if they could be adapted to accommodate up to 18 people with more complex needs, an increase of 10, to meet the criteria of East Lothian Council’s Joint Integration Board. The building is leased from East Lothian Council.

An East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that funding is in place for the Hollies this year to match last year’s funding and that we are already working with them and other partners to increase the range of day care options and places available in Musselburgh to meet the needs of the growing number of older people in the area.”

Asked if the day care options and places would be increased at the Hollies’ present building, she replied: “We are looking at a range of options with the Hollies team.”

The future of the Hollies was first brought into question by health chiefs at the start of the year after they warned it was unlikely to pass a care inspection.

At a meeting of East Lothian Integration Joint Board, which oversees funding for the county’s health facilities, Bryan Davies, services manager, revealed discussions with the centre had taken place in which they had considered either extending the premises or looking for new facilities. He warned that the centre, which recently registered with the Care Inspectorate, would be expected to meet its standards.

The board approved plans to introduce a standard model for all 10 day centres across East Lothian, which would receive a rate of £25 a day for clients, with increased funding of £365,000 to cover the costs.

A report proposing the new model listed the 10 day centres operating in East Lothian but, instead of naming the Hollies, it stated “Musselburgh new centre”, which was questioned by ward councillor Stuart Currie.

The Honest Toun came out in force to show support for the Hollies, fearing it might be forced to close or relocate. Ms Shannon stressed that only its dementia annexe was registered with the Care Inspectorate and no inspection had yet taken place.

Roger Knox, vice-chairman of the centre’s board, said he felt the “inclination” of the board seemed to be that a new day centre facility could not be accommodated within the current High Street building.

At that time, the council stated it was “fully committed” to working with the Hollies on how to develop its service and helping look at the building’s physical constraints.