A charity will continue offering support to hundreds of blind people after council bosses extended its contract by four weeks.
The Society for the Blind of Dewsbury, Batley and District was told the next contract for rehabilitation service to the blind and visually impaired community had been awarded to another charity instead – the Birmingham Institute for the Deaf (BID).
As a result, three rehabilitation officers will no longer be based at the Whitfield Centre and 19 members of staff have been given voluntary redundancy notices.
The Midlands charity was expected to take over the service from August 19, but Kirklees Council has delayed the switch until September 15.
Trustee and treasurer of the Society for the Blind of Dewsbury, Batley and District, Terry Armstead said: “There are some issues concerning the transfer of undertakings (protection of employment) regulations (TUPE) for the rehabilitation team which are taking time to resolve.
“Kirklees Council has estimated they need a further four weeks to finalise the work.
“Once this is done we still expect the new contract to begin with BID.”
TUPE protects employees’ terms and conditions of employment when a business is transferred from one owner to another.
A council spokesperson said: “The council continues its discussions with both the Dewsbury Society for the Blind and the Birmingham Institute for the Deaf to ensure that a smooth transfer of services takes place.”
Despite the loss of contract, members and volunteers at the Soothill-based charity have vowed to save the service.
The centre, which has nearly 1,000 members, will open three days a week instead of five from October.
Members staged a demonstration outside their headquarters protesting the decision.
A support group for blind group in Huddersfield has also backed the Batley charity.
Chairman of Kirklees community group Better Future for the Blind Jean Goodison has criticised the decision to award the contract to BID.
She said: “They have no local knowledge of the people or their needs.
“It still appears they have no base in the area so I cannot see how they will maintain the high level support Dewsbury Blind Society gives.”