A community building in a Moorlands town is set to be sold off, unless the group using it can gain additional income by increasing usage. The Cheadle St John Ambulance base in Ashbourne Road is one of 117 St John Ambulance properties across the country which are currently under review “for potential disposal.”
A community building in a Moorlands town is set to be sold off, unless the group using it can gain additional income by increasing usage.
The Cheadle St John Ambulance base in Ashbourne Road is one of 117 St John Ambulance properties across the country which are currently under review “for potential disposal.”
Cheadle Town Council have agreed to show their support of St John Ambulance after receiving a letter about the possible disposal of the Cheadle building.
In the letter, the Reverend John Davis, County President of the St John Ambulance, said: “St John has been a visible presence in Cheadle for many, many years and generations have been members and learned first aid through the Cheadle St John Ambulance Unit.
“The current unit has six Badgers, 20 Cadets, 20 adult members and 21 Fellowship members.
“Cheadle is a vibrant and growing unit and the only St John presence in the Leek Moorlands area.
“We are now facing a great difficulty in that our building has been identified by national HQ for disposal.
“This is mainly because of the age of the building, but also because of the cost of maintaining it for use by our members.
“St John has had to identify buildings for disposal because of the enormous cost of supporting the NHS, Ambulance Trusts and communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have volunteer members working in Stafford and Stoke Hospitals, undertaking the Covid vaccinations and supporting other parts of the county during the pandemic.
“Nationally we have used over £6 million of our reserves to support our response, and lost our normal income streams such as event cover and workplace training.”
Reverend Davis continued: “We have managed to have the Cheadle building removed from the immediate disposal list, but we have to make out a case for retaining the building.
“We feel the building could be used more by community groups as well as St John and even for local business start ups, which are much needed because of the economic situation the country is facing.
“Hopefully, this would provide an income which would support the development of the building and secure it for use for the whole community.
“We are drawing up plans for some limited structural alterations to allow greater use and would be pleased to be able to discuss our suggestions and plans with you, because for us to successfully retain the building for the community will need the support and possibly some financial help from the community itself.
“If we lost the building we would try to find an alternative building to hire for all our members and equipment of course.”
Councillor Phil Routledge had asked for the Cheadle St John Ambulance base concern to be put in Monday’s Cheadle Town Council agenda.
He said: “St John has been here for many years. It’s a good building.
“I think it would be nice to help and endorse to help them.”
Councillors agreed to support the Cheadle St John.
The Times & Echo contacted the national St John Ambulance for further comment on the Cheadle base, to which Volunteering & Young People Director of St John Ambulance, Jon Knight said: “We can confirm that Cheadle is one of the 117 properties around the country that are under review for potential disposal.
“We are in these very unfortunate circumstances, like many other charities and organisations, as a result of the pandemic.
“Our usual sources of income stopped overnight and sadly, the disposal of some of our properties are necessary for the sustainability of our charity and to continue our important life saving work.
“We have invited our volunteers to give feedback to build a case for retaining the property and the process is currently ongoing.
“No decisions have been made about Cheadle at present and, regardless of the outcome, St John Ambulance volunteers will still be very much part of the local community.
“We are growing and adapting to meet the changing needs of communities and reviewing how best we can serve them.
“Part of this is looking at how we diversify the way we run our units and make them work in both traditional forms and different ways, building on the valuable lessons of Covid, where we used digital tools to keep the St John community going.”
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