Elmbridge Borough Council held a meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee meeting on Thursday 18th January at which the portfolio holder for Community Services was questioned about the temporary closures of Elmbridge’s Community Centres. The key points are:
1. The recently identified safety concerns are the result of staff regularly stepping-in to support vulnerable residents over many years through the tremendous zeal of our professionals to help as many people as possible. This resulted in a first class service but sometimes with staff spread too thinly.
2. The centres were fully open to over a hundred groups hiring them after only a two week closure in December. Within that fortnight, all community service users were contacted and offered full, five day a week use of Walton and Cobham centres with transport arranged if they requested it. Many users reported that they welcomed the Christmas spirit of meals and activities with larger groups of residents.
3. There will be a full review to identify the problems with the service, the timeliness and effectiveness of the responses, actions to ensure they do not recur and our H&S governance and oversight arrangements.
4. Community service users are currently being contacted to inform them about the imminent restarting of services in all centres for a limited number of days from the 22nd January. Despite some misinformation on social media sites, please be assured that there is currently no intention to permanantly closing the centres.