When the present Mayor of Salobreña was still in opposition, one of his chief criticisms against the then PP Mayor was about the Pensioners’ Home, so it is no surprise that it is at the top of his ‘to do’ list now that he is mayor.
His plan is to convert this complex, which at present only operates as rented accommodation, into a day centre for the elderly, thus opening it up to the villagers. Up until now, most of the residents are from outside the municipality.
Really, everybody wins, because the out-of-towners who rent these flats have no communal services, so they, along with the Salobreña elderly, will now have medical and social services within the complex.
The complex was opened in 2005 as an innovative set up consisting of 47 mini-flats for rent, each one being 40 sq/m in size. They were designed for tenants who could still look after themselves. The idea was that these people could enjoy their independence, but at the same time take advantage of a communal laundry service, TV room and restaurant.
But things rarely work out as planned, so little by little the amenities atrophied until the set up became an embarrassment for the municipality and completely unpractical for its residents. By 2009, things had come to a head when the Town Hall cancelled the contract with the company that was supposed to be running the centre: Federacion de Organizaciones Andaluza de Mayores, accusing them of creating a ‘financial hole’ of 400,000 euros.
With FOAM gone, the elderly residents were left with no restaurant (canteen), general maintenance or reception staff. The affair reached the press and the controversy was served, with the then main opposition leader and present-day mayor, Fernandez Pulido, taking up the cause of the residents.
So, the plan is to maintain the council-subsidised flats on the first floor in the present function, but turn the ground-floor ones into a day centre, with all the necessary facilities. Everybody wins: the hitherto residents get all the social facilities and the elderly folk of Salobreña, who felt excluded from this outsiders’ luxury, now have a municipal day-centre.
Accordingly, the day centre will have between 35 and 40 slots, handled by the Junta de Andalucia, providing physiotherapy along with all the other facilities and services that one would expect within such a complex.
The Town Hall is already working on adapting the ground floor, pending the last green light from the Junta to fully convert the complex into a day centre. The Town Council is also putting the running of the centre up for bidding before aspiring companies.
(News: Salobreña, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)