Campaign continues for Potter Street Health and Well Being Hub
Communities / Tue 8th Mar 2022 pm31 12:11pm
THE sudden closure of Harlow’s Potter Street medical centre, Osler House, in 2018 sent shockwaves through the neighbourhood.
The Prentice Place centre had served the community for more than 60 years and this closure saw its 3,000 patients transferred to other surgeries, mainly Church Langley Medical Centre. But the arrangement has not proved suitable for everyone. For example, those without their own transport – many of whom are elderly or disabled – have to make two bus journeys to get to Church Langley.
Osler House has stood empty since the closure of the medical centre. But now the community is coming together to utilise the building by creating a health and wellbeing hub.
With support provided by local organisations, such as Rainbow Services, Sunflower Project, Butterfly Effect, St Clare’s Hospice, Active Essex and Roots to Wellbeing, the hub aims to offer a wide range of services to Potter Street residents.
Project trustee Colin Thorpe said: “Due to Covid 19 and the subsequent lockdowns, there has been an increase in mental health problems, bereavement, general loss of fitness, unemployment and so on. The project has been designed to help alleviate some these issues.
“We want to set up a community cafe where people can have access to low-cost nutritious meals. There will also be help for people wishing to follow a career in the catering industry: people on a limited budget can be taught to cook simple, nutritious meals. We will also be providing meals for the homeless and a meeting place for local organisations.
“We also intend to provide a community gym to offer seated exercise for those recovering from hip/knee surgery or strokes before moving on to low impact balance and strength exercise.
There will also be provision for those who are more active with items of equipment such as exercise cycle, tread mill, rowing machine and trampette.
“It’s hoped that the Princess Alexandra Hospital Maternity Outpatients department will run relaxation and exercise classes for expectant and new mums.”
Potter Street was one of the first neighbourhoods to be developed in the fledgling Harlow during the 1950s. But its position on the south-east edge of the town means it sometimes appears to be detached from the rest of the town and it lacks the range of facilities found in other neighbourhoods.
Community campaigners are hoping to rectify this situation by setting up the health and wellbeing hub. They are looking for volunteers to help get the project off the ground or to serve as trustees and are hoping to acquire funding to refurbish and equip Osler House.
Anyone interested in supporting the project should contact Mr Thorpe on 07767 783482.
That's what happens when you flog parts of the NHS to a private company (in this case one based in the USA) who are only interested in making a profit.