Business idea for community health

jpco 9-7-14 Dennis Williams (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-140807-111128001
jpco 9-7-14 Dennis Williams (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-140807-111128001

Members of one of the town’s community forums met to discuss the possibility of forming a social enterprise to meet some of the health needs of the neighbourhood.

The West Green Forum met on Wednesday (August 6) to discuss the possibility of forming a business to provide services such as mental health care for young people and possibly a surgery for a few days a week.

A social enterprise is a business formed to tackle social problems or improve communities, with all money made being reinvested in the business.

The idea came about following the loss of the neighbourhood’s surgery in 2011 and the subsequent threat to its former premises in Ifield Road.

The building, known as Leacroft, is currently for sale and, while many at the meeting were keen to see it purchased for community use, it became clear that may not be possible due to time constraints.

The thought of losing the building and not focussing all energy on returning a full-time GP surgery to West Green saw a couple of residents walk out of the meeting.

But those who remained formed the embryo of an idea which received enthusiastic support from Dr Amit Bhargava, clinical chief officer for Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group.

It was agreed the group would try to form a health and wellbeing hub, though the issue of premises would be a sticking point should the purchase of Leacroft not prove possible.

Forum chairman Dennis Williams took on the task of producing a business plan within the next fortnight, which could be followed with applications for funding. And he called on other residents to get in touch if they wished to get involved.

He said: “We’re looking for people with business skills and financial skills. We’ve got to move with the times and I think, like with everything else, this revolves around money.

“We are looking for an accountant, a fundraiser and anyone with proven managerial skills.”

If you would like to help set up the social enterprise, contact Dennis on 07425 165175 or email