Service information from 26 February
A warm welcome awaits you at our Centres for the Community. They are open from 10am to 3pm, with hot lunches, a range of activities, hairdressing and podiatry available.
- Mondays: Cobham, Walton, Claygate and Weybridge Centres
- Tuesdays: Cobham, Walton, Molesey and Hersham Centres
- Wednesdays: Cobham and Walton Centres
- Thursdays: Cobham, Walton, Claygate and Weybridge Centres
- Fridays: Cobham, Walton and Molesey and Hersham Centres
The weekly activities programme is available below:
Activities are subject to late notice changes
Day services at Elmbridge Centres to increase from 26 February
We said we would work to increase community services at our Centres for the Community in early spring and we are now pleased to confirm that plan will begin from 26 February.
- From 26 February the Walton and Cobham Centres will continue to be open Monday to Friday and our Centres in Hersham, Weybridge, Molesey and Claygate will run day services two days per week.
- From 26 February, Claygate and Weybridge Centres will open on Monday and Thursday.
- From 26 February, Hersham and Molesey will open Tuesday and Friday.
- All will offer hot meals and activities. Hersham will continue with its café offer.
- From 26 February, new opening hours across all Centres will be 10am-3pm (currently 9am-4.30pm).
Increasing to four days per week
- From late April/early May, all Centres including Walton and Cobham will open four days per week - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
- Also from this time, Wednesdays will be and will remain, focused on ongoing staff training, support and improving systems.
- Meals on Wheels continues to be available all week (7 days), including on the Wednesdays.
Investing in community services
To continue this building back safely plan, we will intensify staff training, increase recruitment and extend the hours of existing staff.
To allow for the necessary staff training, the Walton Centre will close for one day on 21 February – we will contact Walton Centre users directly about this and ensure our Community Transport will be available to bring them to the Cobham Centre.
The Dementia Services clients who normally attend the Walton Centre on Wednesday will have the option of using the Thames Ditton Centre instead on 21 February. We will contact the families directly to arrange this.
To our volunteers
The dedication and support you provide is invaluable and we are incredibly grateful to you. We are contacting you directly about our build back plan and how we can work together to make it a success.
To our hirers
Your hiring agreements will continue to be in place as previously agreed. You are not impacted by Centres closures for training.
To our Bridge club who continue beyond 3pm
We will contact you directly, but please be assured that we will work with you to allow your group to continue.
Dementia services relocating to Claygate Centre for the Community
We are committed to providing a best-in-class dementia service for our clients, families, and carers, and the facilities housing the service are key to that. From April 2024, Elmbridge Dementia Services will be based at their new home at the Claygate Centre for the Community, Elm Road, Claygate.
During the coming weeks, we will be undertaking £50,000 in adaptations which will improve Claygate Centre services and also allow Dementia Services to run concurrently, but independently within the building. Claygate Centre for the Community provides a much-valued service for the community, and we believe that it will be a welcoming and vibrant new home for Elmbridge Dementia Services.
Weybridge Centre for the Community to house library services
From April Weybridge library services are temporarily moving into the Weybridge Centre for the Community.
We are working with Surrey County Council to ensure a smooth transition from April, making sure the library and Centres services can share space and continue to offer valued services to the local community. There will be additional information on this later in the week.
Centre services running four days per week will remain
Working with our Centre teams, we believe this build back plan will provide valued day services to our community and will do so in a safe and sustainable way. We do not anticipate the services running five days per week for the foreseeable future.
Instead, we will resume our work on the Elmbridge Connects strategy – our positive vision for community services in the borough. The aim of this strategy is to strengthen the network of support we are able to provide through community partner collaboration.
Our decisions have always been based on the safety of our clients, volunteers, and employees. We are not trying to close the Centres by stealth. We are not trying to run down the Centres to sell off the land. Instead, we have a positive strategy for community services in Elmbridge - one built on meeting community need, collaborating with partners and establishing a sustainable model of delivering for the 9.3% of residents, across all age groups, who we know are in need of support, not just the 2% (mainly the elderly) our services are reaching.
Learning and moving forward
Over the last few months, we have stated that our actions around the Centres for the Community in Elmbridge have been those of a responsible council putting the safety of its clients, volunteers and employees first. We have said that safety procedures had not been adequately in place, that employee ratios related to Centre activities and the evacuation of a centre in the event of fire were not at the correct levels and we have said that our employees needed enhanced safety training in order to provide the Centre services.
We have been working to resolve this situation by providing the necessary training, increasing working hours of employees and redeploying teams to different centres. These actions, plus the phased reopening of our Centres, is allowing us to build back a safer and more robust service.
In 2020 an internal audit report was commissioned and produced on community services in Elmbridge. That report, which in the spirit of full transparency is below, identified various areas that needed to be addressed, such as staff supervision and training and recruitment and appointment of staff.
In 2024, under a new political administration, new senior management at Elmbridge Borough Council, and a new Director and Head of Service, we are commissioning an independent review of the situation which led up to the temporary closing of the Centres for the Community in November 2023.
The aim of this review, managed by Orbis (an independent audit organisation), is to provide reassurance to our Centre users, employees, Councillors and residents, that strategic and operational risks have been identified and control measures embedded.
This review will involve the following:
- An initial report to the first Cabinet meeting in the municipal year 2024/2025 which highlights the issues encountered.
- Internal Audit undertake an independent and robust in-depth audit which is reported to the Audit and Standards Committee upon completion; and
- The Council’s Risk Management Partners (RMP) undertake a series of health checks and multi-level assessments to critically examine the Council’s systems focusing on the Health and Safety approach of ‘Plan, Do, Check and Act’.
The review will also consider the 2020 internal audit report and any necessary actions leading from the report.
In recommending this independent review, we want to ensure that our services not only meet the needs of the community but that their safety continues to be our highest priority.
We are sorry for the anxiety and worry caused in recent weeks due to the disruption at our Centres and we thank you for your patience and support while we carry out this plan to build a strong, safe and reliable service which meets the need for the community.
Cllr Gill Coates
Portfolio Holder for Community Care
Elmbridge Borough Council
Cllr Bruce McDonald
Elmbridge Borough Council
Internal audit report - The Audit Report itself has one Appendix 1 which specifies the reference, finding, potential risk implication, priority and the agree action section. The agree action section was further developed by the Head of Community Support Services with the production of Appendix A which is also being disclosed as it is referenced within Appendix 1.
These reports have officer names and registration numbers redacted for Data Protection purposes.
Claygate Centre for the Community to close on Thursday 22 February due to water issue
Unfortunately, the Claygate Centre for the Community will not openon Thursday 22 February due to a water fault, meaning there is no hot water at the Centre.
We apologise to our Centre users and hirers for this issue. We are contacting those booked in for lunch tomorrow at the Claygate Centre, our volunteers, as well as hirers to make alternative arrangements where possible. Those booked on Community Transport will be brought to the Cobham Centre.
We are working to have this situation resolved as soon as possible.
Claygate Centre members are more than welcome to attend either our Walton or Cobham Centres.
The Claygate Centre team are looking forward to seeing their clients next week on Monday and Thursday as the Centre resumes services two days per week.
Once again, we apologise for this inconvenience.
Letters to/from Dominic Raab MP
14 February 2024 – Response to Dominic Raab MP
The Leader of the Council, Cllr Bruce McDonald has responded to the local MP Dominic Raab, outlining that his queries are answered in the statement above.
6 February 2024 - Response letter to Dominic Raab MP
The Leader of Elmbridge Borough Council has responded to a letter from Dominic Raab MP, addressing the council's prompt and proportionate response to issues of safety at the Centres for the Community.
25 January 2024: Dementia Services
We have written to our Dementia Services clients and carers to update them on their service and to reinforce the continuity of care they will receive. The text is below:
Next week, 30 January, you will see some council communications about Vital Village and its involvement in the Thames Ditton Centre for the Community. This is based on a report being taken to Elmbridge Cabinet on 7 February.
We will of course send you this communications when it is available, but importantly we want to reassure you that the Dementia Services we offer will not be lessened by the Vital Village proposals for the Thames Ditton Centre. We will continue to provide the best care for those living with dementia, and respite for carers and family members.
We are currently considering appropriate accommodation for Dementia Services which is at least as good as the facilities provided Thames Ditton. We fully recognise the importance of ensuring that if Dementia Services does move to a new location, it will be a fit for purpose environment which continues to benefit our clients and carers. We hope to provide a further update very soon.
We are grateful for your support and if you have any queries, please contact us through email@example.com
15 January 2024: Update
- Cobham and Walton services will run Monday-Friday, times will vary at our other Centres.
- Centre members are welcome to come along to any of the Centres across Elmbridge.
- A warm welcome, the option of lunch and activities awaits all our members.
- Those hiring our Centres for clubs and group activities continue to operate as normal.
From Monday 22 January 2024, our current community services offering at the Walton and Cobham Centres will be extended to our Centres in Molesey, Hersham, Weybridge and Claygate.
This means that from next week our Centres at Walton, Cobham, Molesey, Hersham, Weybridge and Claygate will provide a hot lunch, some fun activities, as well as the regular podiatry and hairdressing services to all our Centre clients, in addition to our more vulnerable clients.
These services will be run from our Walton and Cobham Centres Monday to Friday and from the other Centres on specific days each week as you can see below:
- Mondays: Cobham, Walton, Weybridge
- Tuesdays: Cobham, Walton, Hersham
- Wednesdays: Cobham, Walton
- Thursdays: Cobham, Walton, Claygate
- Fridays: Cobham, Walton, Molesey
No matter where you live in the borough, as a Centre member you are welcome to come along to any of the Centres to enjoy lunch, activities and the company of friends. The Hersham Centre for the Community will continue with its popular café offering on its specific opening day, rather than a three-course meal.
We will offer our community services in this way until early spring, when we expect to be able to increase the services at our Centres.
In the last few weeks those vulnerable residents attending the Cobham and Walton Centres have been positive about their experience. They have enjoyed the hot meal, the activities and the socialising and we are looking forward to expanding this offering to our other Centre members.
Building back safely
We are committed to supporting our residents in the best way possible. We want to provide an enriching and robust service.
We have been making sure the necessary safety processes and procedures are embedded within our community support services. The previous issues of concern have been mitigated, these included employee ratios for a safe evacuation of the Centres in the event of a fire, especially considering our clients with higher needs and those who are less abled who attend our Centres.
We are now in a position to offer services from all Elmbridge Centres for the Community, and we will continue to work on expanding that offering in the weeks ahead through investing in the development of our community service employees and enhanced safety training for all core Centre teams.
This phased and safe return to services is vital in ensuring we are building a robust and resilient service meeting the needs of the community.
A warm welcome awaits
A hot meal, activities such as crafts and bingo, plus podiatry and hairdressing will be available at our Centres from 22 January. The Centre Managers are busy planning for this expanded service - their dedication to all our members remains as steadfast as ever.
We will also contact our clients directly about the services available at the Centres.
Extending your membership
Centre membership currently cost £20 per year. With the service disruption and temporary closure of the Centres, we will extend each membership by 6-months as a token of our gratitude for your support and patience. There is no action needed on your behalf, this will happen automatically.
To our volunteers
We continue to be grateful to our volunteers for supporting this service and our clients. If you volunteer at a Centre, we will be in contact with you to confirm your arrangements.
To our hirers
From December 2023, those hiring the Centres for clubs and group activities have returned to our Centres with safety processes and procedures embedded in their hirer agreement.
If you would like to use Elmbridge Community Transport, please contact us.
Thames Ditton Centre
The Thames Ditton Centre’s operation model has not changed over this period. A full update on this Centre is on our website.
Our Dementia Services team continue to provide care and stimulation for those living with dementia, and respite for carers and family members.
Positive vision for our services
We appreciate this phased expansion of services may seem unsatisfactory to some but as a responsible authority it is vital we provide services in a safe and positive way. We are committed to building back safely - our residents and employees expect nothing less.
We have a positive vision for our services to the community through our Elmbridge Connects strategy and establishing strong foundations will allow us to provide reliable and consistent services for the future.
Below are previous updates on this topic
Walton and Cobham Centres for the Community to reopen in support of vulnerable customers from 11 December
- Centres in Walton and Cobham to reopen in support of vulnerable customers.
- A warm festive welcome, the option of lunch and the company of others awaits at the Walton and Cobham Centres for the Community.
- We are sorry for the continued disruption.
- External hirers return to all Centres.
- Hirers who support our Centre customers are returning to Walton and Cobham Centres.
- Dementia Services continues at Thames Ditton. The Walton group is running from Thames Ditton.
Following the temporary closure of our Centres for the Community in Hersham, Walton, Weybridge, Molesey, Cobham and Claygate, we said we would partially reopen services for our vulnerable Centres users from Monday 11 December and we can now confirm that those services will reopen at our Walton-on-Thames and Cobham Centres.
Running services from these two Centres allows us to support our most vulnerable customers across the borough.
- We are contacting our vulnerable Centres users and inviting them to either the Walton or the Cobham Centre. For those who cannot make their own way to the Centres, we will work with them to make travel arrangements.
- These residents will be offered a warm festive welcome, the option of lunch and the company of others to enjoy some tabletop games.
- If you have not been called by our team and you would like to come to either the Cobham or Walton Centre from next week, please phone us on 01372 474 474
Our dedicated Centre employees are looking forward to offering some festive cheer to our vulnerable customers.
We understand this message will continue to upset and frustrate our customers who want to resume their daily and weekly activities at our Centres, and we are truly sorry about that.
We remain committed to the safety of our Centre users and our employees. We have been working through a long list of safety criteria for reopening, which includes the following three key areas:
- Fire safety procedures
- Risk identification, assessment, and mitigation processes
- And the resourcing capability to reopen safely
The issues of concern include employee ratios for a safe evacuation of the Centres in the event of a fire, especially considering our customers with higher needs and those who are less abled who attend our Centres, go on the organised trips and take part in special events.
As we are confident that these safety processes and procedures are embedded within our community support services, we will be able to increase our offering to our Centre customers.
We anticipate there will be a gradual and phased reopening of services across the borough over the next few months. This will be prioritised based our safety assessments and key needs of our Centre users and residents.
Services continue to operate
- Dementia Services continues at the Thames Ditton. The Walton group is running from Thames Ditton.
- Community Transport’s Dial-a-Ride, Hire-a-Bus and school services are running as normal.
- Meals on Wheels deliveries are still going out 7 days a week.
- The Community Alarm service continues to operate.
If you are a customer who relies on our services for more specific day-to-day support which is not outlined here, please contact us on 01372 474474 so that we can find the right support for you at this time.
Hirers return to all Centres
External hirers have returned to all our Centres, as our team works with them to ensure the correct safety processes and procedures are not only in place but embedded in their hirer agreement.
It may seem inconsistent that we are opening to hirers but under their hirer agreement, they are responsible for evacuating their clients in the event of a fire, they are responsible for having the appropriate mitigations in place to ensure the safety of their clients. Effectively, they run independently to the Centre services.
Thank you for your support for our residents and our Centres for the Community. We continue to assess the resources and staffing needed and we will contact you to advise you further in the days and weeks ahead.
During the temporary closure of our Centres, our other community support services are still in operation:
- Dementia Services continues at the Thames Ditton Centre for the Community
- Community Transport's Dial-a-Ride, Hire-a-Bus and school services are running as normal
- Meals on Wheels deliveries are still going out 7 days a week
- The Community Alarm service is still operating
From Tuesday 5 December, hirers are returning to the Elmbridge Centres for the Community
- We apologise for the disruption caused.
- We are working with hirers to ensure they can return from Tuesday 5 December
Our team is working with the hirers to ensure the correct safety processes and procedures are not only in place but embedded in their hirer agreement. This includes:
- Ensuring they have read and understood the Fire Evacuation Plan for Hirers
- Provided a copy of their public liability insurance
- Provided a copy of their risk assessment
It may seem inconsistent that we are opening to hirers while our Centre services are temporarily suspended but hirers, such as yoga classes or slimming world sessions, operate under different conditions.
Under their hirer agreement, they are responsible for evacuating their clients in the event of a fire, they are responsible for having the appropriate mitigations in place to ensure the safety of their clients. Effectively, they run independently to the Centre services. During the temporary Centre closure, we needed to reinforce and embed these procedures and we are now confident that hirers can return from Tuesday 5 December.
Once again, we apologise for the disruption caused and we look forward to welcoming back our hirers.
Elmbridge Centres for the Community: update 29 November
- Extended temporary closures for Centres in Hersham, Cobham, Claygate, Molesey, Walton and Weybridge.
- Partial reopening of services on Monday 11 December to support our most vulnerable customers.
- Vulnerable customers will be supported throughout the temporary closure.
- Hirers will be contacted directly to allow them to continue their businesses
- Meals on wheels continues.
During recent safety assessments of the services at our Centres for the Community we identified fundamental safety issues for our customers, our hirers and our employees that need immediate and dedicated action.
In closing for a few days, we had hoped to put urgent mitigations into place for all our Centres, but we can see now that a more overarching reset is needed to ensure we can bring back a reliable and consistent service. To be clear the Centre buildings are safe, this work is focussed on the services provided.
Therefore, we are sorry to say that we are extending the temporary closures of our Centres in Hersham, Cobham, Claygate, Molesey, Walton and Weybridge.
We will instigate a partial reopening of services on Monday 11 December to support our most vulnerable customers, with a view to a full reopening in the new year. There will be further details on this next week.
The Thames Ditton Centre for the Community remains open as usual on Monday and Thursday. This Centre is primarily dedicated to our Dementia Services and to our hirers including Men in Sheds and Boomerang Bags, therefore its operating procedures are different to the other Centres. It does not serve meals.
We have a positive vision for our services to the community through our Elmbridge Connects strategy, which reflects the value of those services and the need for them in the community. But the reality is that they have been stretched very thin, especially since the Covid pandemic and the recent cost of living crisis, both of which have put a huge strain on organisations caring for people.
This reset, albeit unexpected and disappointing for our customers, will enable us to restore strong foundations, allowing us to bring back reliable and consistent services for the future.
Safety is our key priority
We have been working through a long list of criteria for reopening, which includes the following three key areas:
- Fire safety procedures
- Risk identification, assessment, and mitigation processes
- And the resourcing capability to reopen safely
At this time, these criteria have not been met, but they will be by Monday 11 December to allow us to partially reopen the service.
Our customers need to know they are in a safe environment. Our employees need to know they are also protected.
We have customers with varying needs, all of which have to be considered as part of our assessments.
Committed to our customers
Anyone who has been to our Centres knows our Centre teams are completely dedicated to our customers and it’s our role to ensure that dedication is supported with the appropriate levels of safety processes and procedures, risk assessments and that we have the correct capabilities in place to welcome back our customers and hirers.
We are aware of the worry, the disappointment, and the anxiety this decision creates and we are truly sorry for this but please be assured that the services Centres provide are as important to Elmbridge Borough Council, as they are to our customers.
Our Centre teams have been at the epicentre of this decision. They share the disappointment in not being able to support all our customers at this time, but they know the correct safety procedures and processes need to be in place.
To our customers
To our customers, we thank you for your loyalty to our Centres and to our employees. You know more than anyone how much our teams are committed to supporting you, to providing hot meals and to the social activities much loved at the Centres. We are truly sorry to have disrupted your plans, your schedules and your activities.
If you are a customer who relies on our services for more specific day-to-day support, please contact us on 01372 474474 so that we can find the right support for you at this time.
To our hirers
To our hirers, we apologise wholeheartedly for the disruption this causes you. We will reach out to you directly to allow you to continue your businesses.
Meals on Wheels
For our meals on wheels customers, your service remains as normal.
Processing refunds will take time, please bear with us while our teams contact you to arrange this.
This is not the message we want to deliver. We know our Centres are a source of much support to our customers and we apologise for the short notice and for the disappoint this extended temporary closure will cause. However, as a responsible council we are reacting quickly to ensure the safety of our customers and our employees, as well as ensuring that our services are robust and sustainable moving forwards.
Monday 27 November: Temporary Centre closures
The safety of our customers and employees is of paramount importance to us. On Friday we explained that we would instigate adhoc Centre closures in order to provide enhanced safety training to our Centre teams.
Following an assessment of services and the safety training required, we have made the difficult to decision to begin the first closure sooner than intended. It was anticipated that the closure would be limited to one day, but we need to extend the closures for the next two days – meaning that all Centres, with the exception of Thames Ditton, will close on Tuesday 28 November and Wednesday 29 November.
The Centres for the Community that will close temporarily on Tuesday 28 November and Wednesday 29 November are: Claygate, Cobham, Hersham, Molesey, Walton-on-Thames and Weybridge.
The Centre for the Community at Thames Ditton is not impacted.
This is not the message we want to deliver. We know our Centres are a source of much support to our customers and we apologise for the short notice and for the disappoint this will cause. However, as a responsible council we are reacting quickly to ensure the safety of our customers and our employees.
We will directly contact those customers and hirers who have bookings with us, and we will of course refund any activities that have been paid in advance and look to rebook hirers. We will also do our utmost to reschedule the special seasonal events we have had to cancel, and while it in no makes up for the disappointment, we will have boxes of chocolates for our customers when they return to the Centres on Thursday.
It will be necessary to continue with ad hoc closures over the coming months, but we will be able to give our users advance warning of these closures.
We are very grateful for your understanding, and we look forward to seeing you again soon.
Friday 24 November: Community Services update
For the last year, we have been working on our Elmbridge Connects strategy.
The strategy and the response to it have caused some concern in a few parts of the borough.
We want to restate that we have a positive vision – expressed in our Elmbridge Connects strategy - which will strengthen the network of support we are able to provide together in a joined-up way, and we are developing our approach with our communities and partners.
We also want to be clear about what we are not doing. Concern has been expressed by some that we are closing the Centres for the Community and that we are abandoning our older residents. None of this is the case. What we do want to do, working with our partners and the community, is make sure we have the most appropriate support in place to meet the needs of the community into the future.
We are sorry for the anxiety caused and would like to set out a few updates on what we are doing.
Activities at the Centres for the Community: thanks to our dedicated Centre teams we are running as many enriching activities as possible for the benefit of our Centre members. To ensure the wellbeing and safety of our clients and employees, we will unfortunately have to cancel some activities such as outings at short notice. We will notify our clients directly and apologise for the disappointment this will cause.
We will close our Centres on certain days to support our staff with enhanced safety training. These are adhoc closures only. We may also need to revise the opening times of some Centres; this will include day closures at some allowing us to consolidate our staff at other Centres.
Thames Ditton Centre for the Community: we updated you earlier this month that we continue to work on the future use of the Thames Ditton Centre for the Community.
Our discussions with the East Elmbridge Primary Care Network (covering Thames Ditton, Long Ditton, Esher and Claygate, Hinchley Wood, East and West Molesey) are ongoing and we have been approached about a complementary, potential community-led opportunity for the Centre, one that would also be aligned with our aim to support those most in need in Thames Ditton and the surrounding area.
No decisions have been made and we continue to work with key community stakeholders to reach the best solution for both the community and EBC.
Community Alarm: our community alarm customers are now being served by Mole Valley Life which is operated by Mole Valley District Council.
Dementia Services: our highly valued dementia services team continues to support their clients, while we work to find them a more permanent location in the borough.
Meals on wheels: this service continues, and we have streamlined our operating processes, to ensure they are more efficient.
We are committed to supporting our residents in the best way possible and we thank you for your understanding and support.