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It’s Confirmed – Budget Cutbacks Mean Ash Day Centre For Elderly People Will Close

Published on: 30 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 30 Mar, 2022

The Shawfield Centre in Ash

By David Reading

The permanent closure of the Shawfield Day Centre for elderly people in Ash has been agreed by Guildford Borough Council’s Executive – a move said by one Ash councillor to have caused “heartbreak” among some people in the community.

The controversial closure is part of a programme of cutbacks to save money and help the council balance its budget.

The GBC Executive agreed to consolidate its day care services at The Hive in Park Barn, Guildford, promising that this will provide a better service for elderly people across the borough.

Those people wishing to travel from Ash to the Hive will be charged a flat rate for transport. In cases where someone is unable to afford the journey the council says it will look at ways to support them and no one will be prevented from attending.

Although the closure is said to have upset many people, one borough councillor representing Ash was full of praise for The Hive.

Cllr Paul Abbey

Cllr Paul Abbey (R4GV), borough councillor for Ash South and Tongham, said: “I attended a tenants’ meeting at the Hive and was delighted and encouraged at the set-up. It’s sad that Shawfield has closed but, as I understand, it was never used to full advantage.

“Moving forward, if people feel able to travel with the professional transport available they will be very welcomed and supported at The Hive. There will be many more services and a sense of community there. I personally feel encouraged to be there to offer any direct advice as a councillor and indeed so will my colleagues.

Cllr Pat Scott

Cllr Pat Scott, an Independent Ash parish councillor, said she had been assured there were many good facilities at The Hive that the residents of Ash and Ash Vale could take advantage of, but the closure was “heartbreaking” for many people in the community.

She said: “Many residents in Ash and Ash Vale feel abandoned, losing one of our main village amenities. If more maintenance and care had been put into the Shawfield Day Centre over the course of the last few years we would not be losing this much-valued resource.”

She questioned how convenient the relocation would be for the people of Ash and Ash Vale, with so many pick-ups and drop-offs included in the journey time.

Furthermore, she said many people used Shawfield for a specific reason, such as hairdressing, chiropody, or massage, and were concerned they would have to wait around at The Hive for the whole day if they wanted to take advantage of these facilities. However she believed the question of differing transport options was being considered to address this point.

There was a public consultation into the Shawfield closure, but Cllr Scott said she believed this was far from adequate, with many Shawfield Day Centre users not been given the opportunity to take part.

Cllr Julia McShane

In announcing the closure, Cllr Julia McShane, Liberal Democrat councillor for Westborough and GBC Deputy Leader, said: “In September last year we asked local people, users of our day care services, and adult social care what they wanted in our older people services consultation. This has shaped our recommendations for the Shawfield Day Centre and proposals to provide day care services for the elderly now and in the future.

“Any loss of service is obviously regrettable, but by consolidating services at The Hive and closing the Shawfield Day Centre, we’re confident that we’ll still be able to offer high-quality services while facing restricted finances.

“When day centre services were allowed to start again after lockdown, we concentrated our care at the Hive. We offered all clients of Shawfield the opportunity to use the Hive, including free travel through our community transport service. Most of these customers have told us they are satisfied with the service. We were able to respond to different needs, creating a quiet space for vulnerable customers to use, which has been particularly helpful for those living with dementia.

“The Hive has the capacity to welcome all the Shawfield clients and with better facilities and services available than at Shawfield. And by consolidating staffing, we are sure that they will benefit from the excellent ongoing support and care at The Hive.”

Cllr McShane said those residents who used to visit the Shawfield Day Centre for their midday meals were not being forgotten. There were plans to provide lunch in the Benson Room at Japonica Court, which is next to the Shawfield centre.

GBC’s Executive agreed that the future use of the Shawfield building should be investigated. One option the Executive would like to be included is for an external organisation, such as a parish council, charity or local enterprise, to take over running of the centre.

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Responses to It’s Confirmed – Budget Cutbacks Mean Ash Day Centre For Elderly People Will Close

  1. Jo Kebbell Reply

    March 30, 2022 at 11:53 am

    Dump the oldies again, the ones who can’t afford to do much. Take away the place they can go to avoid loneliness. Disgraceful.

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