THE new contractor of a community centre in Rhyl has spoken out for the first time after taking the reins.

Denbighshire County Council officially passed the baton for the Hafan Deg Day Centre, on War Memorial Crescent, to Karen Wylie of Prestatyn care agency KL Care Limited on Saturday, September 1.

Mrs Wylie was awarded the three year contract in April, after winning the tender to manage the centre on behalf of the council and increase the number of elderly people retaining independence, having social interactions and the types of services available.

Mrs Wylie said: "We want to try and get the day centre back to where it was about seven or eight years ago, which will mean increasing the hours to reach out to more people.

"The major benefit of Hafan Deg being privately run now is, more than anything else, that is exactly what I can do. Extending our opening hours makes the centre more flexible around people's commitments like work and health care obligations.

The addition of a day centre is a first for KL Care - a home care provider -which celebrated its 10th anniversary in June and only added its first Rhyl client to its books shortly after.

Since being established in Mrs Wylie's home in Abergele, the business has grown to employ more than 30 staff members and provides care to residents in Rhuddlan, St Asaph, Dyserth, Bodelwyddan, Rhyl, Prestatyn and as far as Denbigh.

Plans to close the well loved centre in 2015 resulted in more than 1,000 respondents petitioning the council to find an alternative to closing the facility. As part of Mrs Wylie's contract, the day centre will be subject to quarterly review

Mrs Wylie added: "It's not an expansion for the business, I like to see it as an enhancement. I'm great believer in the day care centre and put a lot of faith in reaching people early to help retain their health and independence."

"I want to continue as much of the groups as possible, and over time we'll be looking to add laundry clubs, shopping trips to what I'm sure will be a continuation of a lovely service."

"This of course means I have kept all of the same staff from before I took it over, in fact I'll be relying on them to maintain the quality of the service at Hafan Deg as well as begin to grow the centre as much as we can."

"The council will continue to ring fence the clients security, but beyond that the centre has much greater freedom now and we will be hooking up with families more to hear their thoughts on what they would like to see."

A open day will be held at Hafan Deg on Wednesday October 3 at 10 am, in coordination with the nationwide Macmillan coffee morning.