DAYTIME support services in East Lancashire are set to be merged or axed – amid claims of a poor take-up by senior citizens.

Less than half of the places are being taken up at some social services currently provided for the county council by Age UK Lancashire.

County officials say they cannot identify which services are under threat, for legal reasons, but Age UK is behind a host of services in Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Ribble Valley and Rossendale.

These include Community Links, where over-65s are encouraged to join social groups, Eastern Lives, which assists Asian-heritage older people and health trainers, who offer lifestyle assistance.

County councillor Tony Martin, cabinet member for adult and community services, said more and more people were taking their own personal budgets and choosing where they spent it which often meant in the local community on things like exercise classes, lunch clubs and adult education. He said: “In response to these changing demands, we are working with Age UK Lancashire and other organisations to modernise our daytime support in the east of the county.

“Some of the services currently available have only had 50 per cent take-up for the past year or more; clearly changes need to be made.

“We will, of course, be talking to the remaining people and their families who still use these services about how a personal budget would best meet their daytime support needs in the future.”

The changes will come into effect when various Age UK contracts expire at the end of March.

The past two years has seen day care centres offered by the authority, either centrally or in partnership with the NHS, shut at Colne’s Stanley Villas, Accrington Wellbeing Centre and Clitheroe Community Hospital.