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Ash Centre for Older People Faces Possible Closure 

Published on: 18 Dec, 2021
Updated on: 20 Dec, 2021

The Shawfield Centre in Ash

By David Reading

Older people who use the Shawfield Day Centre in Ash will know early in 2022 whether the centre will be closed permanently by Guildford Borough Council. 

A public consultation began in September seeking residents’ views on what they want and the results of the consultation, now closed, will be reported to councillors in the new year. 

The consultation offered two options:

  • To continue to operate two centres for older people – the Hive in Guildford and the Shawfield Centre in Ash, but with limited services available. 
  • To close the Shawfield Day Centre and combine provision at the Hive “to provide more modernised, wider-ranging activities and efficient services for all communities”. 

If Shawfield closes, people will have to travel from Ash to the Guildford centre, although it is believed that free transport will be provided. 

The Ash centre is closed at present because of the Covid pandemic.

The issue has become a point of conflict between the Ash Tories and the Lib Dem/R4GV administration at GBC.

Cllr Paul Spooner

Cllr Paul Spooner (Con, Ash South and Tongham) said: “Local Conservative councillors representing Ash and Tongham are very concerned at the loss of local provision for more mature members of our local community following the closure of Shawfield Day Centre and other facilities at the Japonica Court site owned by Guildford BC.

“Once Cllr Graham Eyre (Con, Ash South and Tongham) and I became involved there has been an improvement for residents of nearby Japonica Court with activities re-starting in the Benson room, but the wider community has to travel to Park Barn in Guildford to access services at the Park Barn Centre, now called the Hive.

“Councillors representing Ash and Tongham recently toured the Hive with the GBC Executive Lead Member, Cllr Julia McShane, and officers, and whilst we believe that the Hive is very good for local residents within the town centre and particularly Cllr McShane’s own ward, we remain very concerned for the residents in the west of the Borough who have lost their provision at Shawfield.

“We also raised concern at the wording of the council consultation but that was ignored by the Leadership at GBC. There are many residents paying Council Tax who are resident in Ash and Tongham and we expect better.”

Cllr Julia McShane

The deputy leader of the council, Cllr Julia McShane (Lib Dem, Westborough), said:  “We closed the Shawfield Day Centre temporarily in March 2020 during the first national lockdown. We used the centre to help support our most vulnerable residents with food parcels.

“When day centre services were allowed to start again, we offered all clients of Shawfield Day Centre the opportunity to use the Hive, including free travel through our community transport service. Twenty-five people are still using this service.

“In September we asked local people and users of our day care services what they wanted in our older people services consultation. This will help us understand the best way we can provide day care services for the elderly now and in the future.

“The consultation included options to consolidate our day care services in a single centre at the Hive, or continue to run two separate centres. The results of the consultation will be reported to councillors in the New Year. We have kept Shawfield Day Centre closed whilst we review our older people’s services provision and have a full report so we can make a decision.”

Cllr McShane invited anyone needing help to contact GBC’s Older People’s Services to ring 01483 458055.

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