Statement on Elmbridge Connects strategy
We are aware of reports and concerns about our Centres for the Community, including the Claygate, Hersham and Thames Ditton Centres for the Community. We would like to re-iterate our thoughts and plans for community support in Elmbridge, as agreed at February’s Elmbridge Council meeting, and offer reassurance to help allay the concerns expressed.
Our aim is to support our residents, especially our more vulnerable residents, through an ‘Elmbridge Connects’ strategy; a network of groups, organisations, and people, coming together with the common goal of helping and supporting residents.
This will refocus financial resource on those who need our services most. Estimates are that only 2% of residents directly benefit from our current community support services, but there is wider need in the borough, largely among families who are being affected by the cost-of-living crisis. There are almost 137,000 residents Elmbridge and 9.3% of households are financially stretched (according to Acorn data). Single parent families are particularly vulnerable.
Collaboration with community partners
Following work with residents, voluntary sector groups and health partners, a roadmap for an ‘Elmbridge Connects’ strategy has been established.
Within this approach we will
- enable delivery through collaboration with community partners,
- focus on prevention,
- build on the existing energy of the community to collaborate,
- and we will ensure the service responses to the needs of our community.
As we consider the longer-term needs of the community, there are some immediate actions to support these changes.
- We will continue to run our dementia services, and this service will relocate from Thames Ditton to another Elmbridge building. At the same time, we will engage with the local community to consider future uses for the Thames Ditton Centre.
- Our Cobham Link team support adults with learning disabilities has potential and will work to enhance its offering.
- The meals on wheels service is vital for over 170 of our residents and we are working to consolidate the process of preparing and distributing the meals, centralising the service in one kitchen for example. From April, the meals on wheels for the Hersham Centre will be prepared from our Molesey Centre kitchen, acting as a pilot for possible future service provision.
- We are developing plans for both our Community Alarm and Community Transport services.
There are no further immediate actions as part of our connected communities approach. Suggestions that we are closing Centres for the Community are baseless and only cause unnecessary worry for our colleagues and our wonderful volunteers.
Elmbridge Borough Council