Centre’s manager is celebrating 30 years
Buy this photo » Rose Jones
COMMUNITY centre manager Rose Jones celebrates 30 years in charge this week and says her father’s MBE for services to the elderly was her inspiration.
Rose, 81, of Grove Orchard, Highworth, was a nurse before taking on a managerial role at Highworth Youth & Community Centre in Newburgh Place.
That move was three decades ago, and provided her with a role which she has never wavered from fulfilling to the best of her ability.
Although she said habit has been a keen part of her longevity, Rose also admitted she has known little different to caring for the elderly.
Her father, Martin John, was awarded his MBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace exactly 34 years yesterday for services to the elderly after his role as chairman of Age Concern Wales.
“I grew up in a house with a father who was always involved in caring for the elderly. I didn’t know much different,” she said.
Rose has been the one and only manager of the community centre throughout its lifetime. She attended a meeting of the Highworth Contact Group, who agreed to set the centre up in 1983, and as a former geriatric nurse Rose was picked out as the ideal candidate to manage it.
“A lot of people have come and gone in these 30 years, with some even saying it’s me killing them off, whilst I’m still here outstaying them,” she said.
At the start of her tenure, Rose had 27 elderly people under her care at an institute which was fully funded by social services – funding which granted her a wage.
Things have now changed significantly, with just 11 women between the ages of 80 and 95 attending every Tuesday for five hours of food, chat and entertainment.
The ladies each pay £5 each, with £35 going on rent for the one room they all use at the centre, and the remaining £20 used by Rose to pay for food for the day. She does not receive any pay.
“There are very few day centres about nowadays. There used to be a lot of them. They say they can’t afford them anymore,” said Rose.
“We have enough to cover the rent and not much more to supply the food.
“They come in each week, driven by the Lions van, and have coffee, lunch and afternoon tea.
“I try and provide some entertainment where possible.”
Rose will go into hospital next week to have a hip replacement.
She hopes to be back up and running at the centre again in January, as what she calls a new woman.
“Next Thursday I shall be in hospital having a new hip. In January I shall be a new woman.
“I plan to carry on here until I drop,” she said.
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