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Management pull-out throws into doubt future of Fenwick Health and Wellbeing Centre in Lyndhurst

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THE future of the former Fenwick hospital in Lyndhurst has been thrown into doubt after the group that runs it pulled out when ownership negotiations with the NHS broke down.

Social Care in Action (SCiA) has announced that from July it will no longer be managing the Fenwick Health and Wellbeing Centre in Pikes Hill, which used to be one of the district’s community hospitals.

That sparked concerns from parish council chair Cllr Chris Willsher about the village potentially losing a valued amenity.

Fenwick Health and Wellbeing Centre needs major investment, says SCiA
Fenwick Health and Wellbeing Centre needs major investment, says SCiA

The site is owned by the NHS and through SCiA, which took over in 2008, has hosted activities from third-party providers ranging from sessions for people with dementia or frailty to nail-cutting clinics and “laughter yoga”. It is also an NHS administration base.

However, there have been no regular public services since the last lockdown, said SCiA, and the tenants at the building were given three months’ notice last Friday.

Catherine Bowell, managing director for south-west Hampshire at the NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group, said it was now “assessing the needs of the local population” and would announce a decision about the site later.

In a statement SCiA, a not-for-profit group, said that “despite its best efforts over several years” to change ownership of the centre, negotiations with the NHS have proved unsuccessful.

SCiA chief executive Dan Freshwater said the 100-year-old building will need “major investment in the coming years to maintain it for the future, and the charity cannot invest that amount of its funds improving a building owned by the NHS”.

He added: “We have been managing Fenwick since 2008 and it has been a pleasure working alongside everyone involved in that time, and we have enjoyed supporting our tenants in the delivery of their service or business.

Dan Freshwater, CEO at SCiA
Dan Freshwater, CEO at SCiA

“We will miss them and wish them all the very best for the future.

“The centre is a much-loved asset in the community in the New Forest and we look forward to now seeing what the future holds for it.”

Cllr Willsher said: “I think concern from people in the village will be about yet another loss of an amenity that’s been there for years.

“There’s a lot of attachment to it as a hospital. I think the people who have lived in the village for a long time will be very concerned and will want answers about what’s going to happen.

“We do hope there’s going to be a comprehensive and transparent analysis of local people’s need before any final decisions are made about the site.”

SCiA is a group of not-for-profit social enterprises which reinvests profit back into services for communities in Southampton, Hampshire and Dorset.

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